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Georgia police arrest mother of missing toddler on murder charges

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Leilani Simon, 22, was arrested Monday on charges of killing her 20-month-old son, Quinton Simon. Photo courtesy of Chatham County Police Department/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/ChathamCountyPD/posts/pfbid0ZRymYu8dRXutDY3cxd3MMNDXnj6Fghzj7dSaHFb3sARUxUaVvUm9FR5ukwZBJYrBl?__cft__[0]=AZWpHu3vz3gct-wjoZZDvjL04NpfwMnaD3IP5RAPE4NEwF5PXVHDxiuTptcLendYDEAH9bqvsxM4TFcTe6kgY1iEtFOanDPMCosTzd9cKQx-0lToODEhhHIi2iGTTK05dTlWjfGHhbWUz9dFJIIlQLTyDGPaU2lkY-NQar_6zCC2I3IYc5JPZtDQMpClpnvjhvM&amp;__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R">Facebook</a>
Leilani Simon, 22, was arrested Monday on charges of killing her 20-month-old son, Quinton Simon. Photo courtesy of Chatham County Police Department/Facebook

Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Authorities in Georgia who have been searching for a missing toddler since early last month have arrested the child's mother on charges of malice murder after finding human remains believed to belong to the little boy in a landfill.

The Chatham County Police Department said in a statement that Leilani Simon, 22, was arrested Monday for the murder of her 20-month-old son, Quinton Simon.

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She also faces charges of concealing the death of another person, false reporting and making false statements to police.

Chatham County Police Department Chief Jeff Hadley told reporters in a Monday evening press conference that Leilani Simon is being held at the Chatham County Detention Center and is awaiting a bond hearing.

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"We do not anticipate any other arrests in this case. She has been the sole suspect from the beginning," he said.

Police have been searching for Quinton Simon since Leilani Simon reported him missing from their home on Buckhalter Road near Savannah on Oct. 5. On Oct. 12, police said they believe the boy was dead and his mother was the prime suspect.

Authorities said the arrest was made after police on Friday found human remains at the local waste management landfill where they had been searching since Oct. 18 on evidence that indicated his body had been disposed of there.

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Preliminary results from the FBI lab in Quantico, Va., came back Friday indicating that the remains were human and further testing, including DNA, was underway to confirm that they belong to Quinton Simon, authorities said, adding that it could be days before confirmation is made.

"This is a heartbreaking development for everyone who loved Quinton, for the many people who came to know him after his disappearance and for our department," Hadley said.

"When we first received the call that Quinton was missing we were hopeful that we would find him alive and unharmed, but as we have been telling you for weeks, all of our evidence pointed to his mother being responsible for his death and disappearance and his remains being found in the landfill."

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Chatham County Police Department said law enforcement agents searched through more than 1.2 million pounds of trash over a 31-day period to find the boy's remains.

"We are indebted to the many law enforcement and public service agencies who assisted with this search, which was a crucial part of our investigation," Hadley said.

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