Court documents reveal that a missing Georgia toddler’s grandmother and her husband have legal custody of him and his 3-year-old brother and that the grandmother had filed last month to evict her daughter and her boyfriend from the house where they all lived.
Lelani Simon, 20-month-old Quinton Simon’s mother, reported the boy missing shortly after 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, telling Chatham County Police that she last saw him at about 6 p.m., as CrimeOnline previously reported.
In court documents obtained by WJCL, Billie Jo Howell, Lelani Simon’s mother, wrote that her daughter and boyfriend, Daniel Youngkin, “have damaged my property and at this point no one is living in peace.” She said that Lelani Simon wasn’t looking for work and she wanted the two out “as soon as possible.”
Howell previously told WTOC that she was working at temporary job out of town when Quinton disappeared. Her husband, Thomas Howell, remained behind, she said, and it was the boys’ babysitter who called to let her know Quinton was missing. She headed back to Georgia immediately, she said. She also told WJCL that she’s not sure if she trusts her daughter or not.
“I just know I’m hurting and I want this baby home,” she said. “He’s my baby.”
The babysitter, Diana McCarta, told WSAV that she had been scheduled to babysit Quinton and his older brother Wednesday morning, but the family called before 6 a.m. and said she wasn’t needed. She said she was shocked to learn later in the morning that the boy was missing.
Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley told WJCL Friday that investigators were working 18 hour days to find the missing boy.
“There’s a very sequential process that takes place here,” he said. “It may be frustrating to the general public, it may be frustrating to y’all that things aren’t developing as quickly as you may like. But we’ve got to make sure that we’re doing the right thing, that we’re being lawful, making sure we dot our Is and cross our Ts, so that if we discover evidence, it can be admissible in court and we can use it in court if we have to.”
Earlier on Friday, Hadley updated county commissioners on the investigation at their regular meeting, providing little more information than was already reported. He said that search crews had exhausted their ground search grid but were not giving up, although later Friday, police said they’d searched a pond in the area.
Hadley asked if the commissioners had any questions, when he finished his report, but Commission Chairman Chester A. Ellis interrupted and told the commissioners not to ask any questions about the investigation because Hadley had told them all he could.
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[Featured image: Quinton Simon/Chatham County Police Department]