The disappearance of Quinton Simon: Over 40 FBI agents join search for missing Georgia toddler
SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: According to officials, more than 40 FBI agents and employees in Georgia are helping with the hunt for 20-month-old Quinton Simon, who has been missing since last week. The FBI's help was requested by the Chatham County Police Department the day the child went missing.
The child went missing on October 5 from his home in Chatham County's Savannah, a seaside city on the border of Georgia and South Carolina. At around 6 am, Quinton was last seen at a residence in the 500 block of Buckhalter Road. Despite previous reports suggesting Quinton had wandered off, the child's 22-year-old mother informed authorities that her son was playing in a playpen when he was last seen. Leilani Simon, the mother, allegedly informed the police that the boy's biological father had taken him, but the police claimed that this was untrue and that the father was not a suspect in this case. “Mother woke up at some other time later and reported the child missing at 9:39,” chief Jeffrey Hadley said last week. The boy’s biological father, who was not named, “was not near him during the time of his disappearance."
Diana McCarta, who identified herself as Quinton's babysitter, claimed in an interview with WSAV that she had been looking after Simon and his younger brother for around six months. Even when their mother was not working, she reportedly took care of the kids and watched over them every day. On the day of Simon's disappearance, McCarta claimed she was scheduled to watch him, but the family got in touch with her and told her they didn't need her that day. She originally thought it weird that the plan had been abruptly changed at the last minute, but she subsequently learned that the toddler had been reported missing.
"We don’t have anything confirmed so we can’t say anything absolute, but it is fair to say that in our efforts — and the cooperation with the FBI and them providing an abundance of resource to us — that we are looking at the criminal investigation aspect of it as well," Hadley said in a press conference on October 10 as reported by NBC News. Hadley went on to say that "everybody is being looked at, everybody is being interviewed," including anyone who had contact with the young child ahead of his disappearance.
The hunt for the child included volunteers and neighbours, in addition to mounted police, K-9 teams, drones, and helicopters. Near Hunter Army Air Field and just beyond the boundaries of Savannah, certain routes in the western section of the county were closed by search teams. Helicopters were dispatched during nightfall with thermal imaging devices, which can detect body heat.
According to Chatham County Police Department, Quinton was last seen wearing a light blue Sesame Street shirt and black jeans.
As the case became their "highest priority," police are asking the public to come forward with any information that might aid in their days-long hunt for Quinton.