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Mother of Georgia toddler missing since October arrested in his death

Quinton Simon, 20 months old, was reported missing Oct. 5, setting off a large search. A week later, police said they believed he was dead.
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The mother of a 20-month-old child who Georgia authorities believe is dead has been arrested and accused of murder, police said Monday.

The announcement of charges against Leilani Simon, 22, comes more than a month after Chatham County police publicly called her the "prime suspect" in the disappearance and death of her son, Quinton Simon.

On Friday, remains were found at a landfill where authorities have been searching for weeks, and preliminary tests indicated they were human, police said.

“Further testing — including DNA evidence — is being conducted to confirm that the remains are, in fact, human and whether the remains are Quinton’s,” police said in a statement

Quinton Simon. Missing Georgia toddler.
Quinton Simon.Chatham County Police Department

Chatham County police said they do not expect any other arrests in the case.

"We are deeply saddened by this case, but we are thankful that we are one step closer to justice for little Quinton," the department said in a tweet announcing the mother's arrest Monday afternoon.

Chatham County Police other law enforcement officers have been searching a landfill for the missing toddler's remains since Oct. 18, after Police Chief Jeff Hadley said evidence led law enforcement there.

Officials went through 1.2 million pounds of trash over a 30-day period, police said.

Leilani Simon reported the toddler missing from his home in an unincorporated part of the county near Savannah on Oct. 5, police have said.

The report set off a search that included the FBI. Crews looked for the child in areas he might have wandered, including a pond, drainage pipes, dumpsters and nearby woods.

On Oct. 12, Chatham County police announced that they believed the child was dead and named Leilani Simon as the prime suspect, although she had not been arrested or charged at that time.

Simon's boyfriend reported waking up and seeing Quinton at 6 a.m. on Oct. 5, Hadley has previously said. The mother reported him missing at 9:39 a.m., he said.

Leilani Simon is charged with malice murder, concealing the death of another person, false reporting, and making false statements. She was awaiting a bond hearing, police said in Monday's statement.