Search continues for Chatham Co. toddler last seen Wednesday morning

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 5:49 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2022 at 6:11 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A family is still holding on to hope that their 1-year-old child will be found.

Quinton Simon disappeared from his home Wednesday morning on Buckhalter Road.

Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said all options are still a possibility. They don’t know if this was a kidnapping and they have not seen any signs of foul play.

“This is a fluid situation, all things are still possible, we don’t have any concrete belief in any one theory or any one thing so we are very concerned about Quinton, we are hoping we can find him safe and bring him home to his parents,” Chief Hadley said.

Quinton was wearing a light blue Sesame Street shirt and black pants when he disappeared from his home on Buckhalter Road. The mother’s boyfriend was last person to see Quinton around 6 a.m. on Wednesday. The mother called 911 around 9:30 a.m.

Chief Hadley said the team has exhausted their search in the vicinity of the Simon’s home. The police have a search warrant for the house in lived in and other areas. The chief would not elaborate on the other areas.

Police are asking you to call 911 if you see him.

While there were many experts on the scene like the Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and bloodhounds - there were also concerned neighbors. People from up and down the street helped search for Quinton and even people from outlying communities came to help.

“He has been out before so that is why yesterday I thought for sure when they had texted and got in touch with me that he would show up somewhere around here I never knew the search would last this long…my gut tells me something is very wrong but my heart and we are praying, hoping God will intervene and he’s OK,” said Quinton’s babysitter Diana McCarta.

“Everybody here is concerned, everybody is coming here, we wanted to jump in the search as soon as they got here but they still had the dogs out and we didn’t want to throw more traces out there for them to try to throw their scent off, but as soon as that was over with we went up there…we all took a trip down Gerrard, all the woods and we’ve been just about any area as far as the area they are concentrating at,” said Tyler Edenfield from Savannah.

“I couldn’t imagine having my child go missing, these are my babies, it is very important to me and I know it is important to other people as well so whatever I can do to help the community and the parents to try to find their child,” said Stacie & Autumn Smiley from Richmond Hill.

Grandmother says mom was served eviction notice

The grandmother of missing toddler Quinton Simon is hopeful he will be found safe, but as more than 24 hours has passed since he was last seen she says she cannot stop thinking the worst has happened.

“My mind has thought the worst and it’s prayed for the best. You know, I couldn’t imagine that she would hurt one of her kids but I can’t say the thought hasn’t gone through my mind a hundred thousand times,” said Billie Howell, in a phone interview with WTOC News.

Quinton Simon with his grandmother Billie Howell.
Quinton Simon with his grandmother Billie Howell.(Billie Howell)

Her 20-month-old grandson was last seen at 6 a.m. Wednesday. The search effort began at 9 a.m. yesterday when Chatham County Police received a report of the missing toddler in the 500 block of Burkhalter Road where the family home is.

By the afternoon, the search grew to a multi-agency effort involving the FBI, a drone, helicopter and officers searching on horseback, but was called off at sunset.

She says she has custody of 20-month-old Quinton and was working out of town in Illinois when she learned he was missing.

She left as soon as she got the call from Quinton’s babysitter. When she arrived at her home on Burkhalter Road, she said she found crime scene tape up and had to stay at a motel. Police have since taken down the tape, she said. She lives at the home with her husband, her 22-year-old daughter, who is Quinton’s mother, her daughter’s boyfriend and the daughter’s three children.

“But I haven’t heard from any police and they were supposed to be here searching this morning. They’re not here. I’m praying that that’s good.”

Before she left for the short-term job in Illinois, she had served her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend with an eviction notice through the courts. She said they would fight all the time.

“It was just horrible. I was like, ‘Look. We have a house that we want to home to and live in peace, but we can’t do that with y’alls mess.’”

On Sept 16th, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office mailed the daughter and her boyfriend an eviction notice, according the Chatham County court records. Howell said she believes her daughter received the notice last week.

“I was trying to get back home before she left. Like I said it was only supposed to be three weeks. I didn’t want her leaving the house with the kids because my husband was here and we have (the babysitter) down the road who takes care of them all the time.”

Quinton Simon with his grandmother Billie Howell.
Quinton Simon with his grandmother Billie Howell.(Billie Howell)

Howell said she’s had custody of Quinton and his oldest brother since Quinton was 5-months-old. Her daughter moved back within the past couple of months and recently gave birth to a baby girl.

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