After arrest, revisiting Leilani Simon’s exclusive interview with WTOC
CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - WTOC spoke with Leilani Simon on October 24th - almost a month ago.
At that time, Chatham County Police had already said that they believed Quinton was dead, had named Leilani their sole suspect, and had started searching a local landfill for Quinton’s remains.
In that interview, Leilani never outright stated whether she was guilty or innocent.
She maintained that she was broken up over Quinton’s death and disappearance, visibly crying both when the camera was on and when it was off.
However, she said if it came out that she had anything to do with Quinton’s disappearance, she would turn herself in to the police.
“I’m here, I’ve been here, every day since this. I’m not running and I’m not hiding. And if something does come up that I’m at fault, I will take myself to that police station,” said Leilani Simon.
Three and a half weeks after making that statement, Leilani was arrested and charged with murdering Quinton Simon.
That came three days after Chatham County Police found what they believed to be Quinton’s remains in a Chatham County landfill.
In a news conference held shortly after Leilani’s arrest, we asked if she did turn herself in.
When asked, “Leilani made a statement to me that she would turn herself in. Was there any talk of giving her that opportunity?”
Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said, “No.”
After Leilani made that statement in the interview that she was willing to turn herself in, her mother, Billie Howell, also jumped in.
“I will take myself to that police station,” said Simon.
“And I will walk with her,” said Billie Howell, Leilani’s mother.
According to a family friend we spoke with on Tuesday, Billie did take Leilani to the FBI office, where Leilani was arrested and then transported to the Chatham County Detention Center.
That detail matches what WTOC was told by a law enforcement source familiar with the case.
“They sat there for four hours yesterday until- I’m assuming it was for them to get the warrant, so, come and picked Leilani up and took her to jail,” said the family friend.
Weeks ago in the interview, Leilani also said that she didn’t know what had happened to Quinton but cut off her mother to say she hoped he was alive.
“We hope he is found,” said Howell.
“Happy and alive. We want him back in our arms, holding us, is what we want. We just hope that he’s in somebody’s house and they’re feeding him, or hoping that, you know, they wanted a baby or couldn’t have a baby. Maybe they thought they were his savior. That’s our best hopes at this point,” said Simon.
An important note about this case, in the news conference after Leilani was arrested, Chief Hadley said that he does not expect they will arrest anyone else.
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