Dozens of law enforcement personnel are searching a large landfill in Chatham County, Georgia, where authorities believe they will find the remains of 20-month-old Quinton Simon, who has been missing for about two weeks.
“We, along with our law enforcement partners go into this process with heavy hearts,” said Will Clarke, Senior Supervisory Resident Agent for FBI offices in Savannah and Brunswick. “We did not want to end up at this point but the evidence has taken us here.”
“We are not just randomly searching this landfill,” Clarke said in a Tuesday news conference, adding personnel have begun conducting a systematic search of debris for the child’s remains.
Quinton was last seen at his Savannah home roughly two weeks ago. His mother told authorities she last saw him in his playpen around 6 a.m on October 5. He was reported missing more than three hours later. The initial report was that the child had wandered off, according to CNN affiliate WTOC.
Savannah is roughly 225 miles southeast of Atlanta.
Authorities believe this will be an “extensive” search of the waste management landfill trying to locate the child’s remains and have spent the past several days preparing and deploying resources to support the search team and investigators, Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said in Tuesday’s news conference.
“We believe that he was placed in a specific dumpster, at a specific location and it was brought here by regular means of disposal,” the chief said. “I have every belief that we will find his remains here at the landfill.”
Authorities did not share details about what kind of evidence led them to the landfill and why they believe they will find the toddler’s remains there.
And police are “not ready to charge anyone yet,” Hadley added, saying the investigation is ongoing and they don’t want to do anything that “would harm future prosecution.”
According to court documents obtained by CNN affiliate WJCL, Quinton’s maternal grandmother and her husband have custody of the toddler and his 3-year-old brother. That same grandmother also filed to have Quinton’s mother and her boyfriend evicted in early September, the affiliate previously reported.