Police in Georgia have said the chances of finding the body of missing toddler Quinton Simon are "low" after a nearly monthlong search that turned from a rescue operation into a recovery mission, with the child's mother named as the primary suspect.
After "thousands of hours of investigating and gathering evidence," the Chatham County Police Department said in a Twitter thread Wednesday they still believed 20-month-old Simon's remains were somewhere in a landfill outside Savannah.
However, they said that while authorities including FBI agents continued to "work tirelessly" to recover the toddler's remains, they knew "going into this landfill search, the odds of recovering Quinton's remains were low."
The update came just over two weeks after Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said investigators had “every belief” they would find Simon's remains at the landfill.
The police department said Wednesday that "most landfill searches do not end in a recovery due to many factors including volume of trash to search and compression of the debris."
"The landfill search has been a task more grueling (than) anyone could imagine," police added.
The search for the missing toddler began on Oct. 5 when his mother, Leilani Simon, called 911 and said the boy had gone missing from his playpen.
After more than a week searching the house and surrounding area, police said they believed the toddler was dead. They also named the boy's mother as the primary suspect in her son's disappearance and death.
As of Wednesday, Leilani Simon remained the primary suspect, police said. No arrests or charges have so far been announced in the case.
A listed phone number for Leilani Simon could not be found and it was not clear if she had a lawyer who could speak on her behalf.
The effort to find her son has marked the "largest search and most far-reaching investigation in the history of the Chatham County Police Department," authorities said.
Police said they would continue to search for Quinton Simon's remains as they thanked people "both here at home and around the world" who have "offered their support and encouragement during these last four weeks."