Georgia, FBI searching for missing toddler whose babysitter reports 'odd' text before disappearance
Georgia police intensifying search for missing 20-month-old boy Quinton Simon with help of FBI
Georgia police and the FBI are intensifying their search for missing toddler Quinton Simon, as the child’s caretaker recalled to local news reporters an "odd" message she received before he disappeared.
Twenty-month-old Quinton Simon was allegedly last seen at his Savannah home around 6 a.m. Wednesday and was reported missing around 9:40 a.m., the Chatham County Police Department has said. Five days later, more than 40 FBI agents are assisting police department with the case, which has consisted of several interviews, searches and canvasses of a number of geographical areas, Chief Jeffrey M. Hadley told reporters.
Asked on Monday about the possibility that the case involved a criminal aspect, Hadley said investigators were "looking at it from multiple fronts, one of them being a criminal investigation, as well as a missing child at this point."
"Everybody is being met. Everybody is being interviewed. Everybody that had contact with Quinton in the most recent time of his disappearance is being looked at, is being interviewed," he said.
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Quinton was last seen in his home on Savannah’s Buckhalter Road, wearing a light blue Sesame Street shirt and black pajama pants, police said. Police investigators are asking anyone with information regarding Simon's whereabouts to call 912-667-3134.
Hadley added that police conducted their second search of Quinton’s family home on Monday morning. He previously said investigators had searched the property’s swimming pool and a local pond. The police chief would not comment whether Quinton’s parents were cooperating with police or if they have retained an attorney.
Speaking to local news station WSAV-TV, Diana McCarta, who said she had been babysitting Quinton and his brother for six months, said she had seen the boys as recently as the day before Quinton disappeared.
She was supposed to watch them that Wednesday morning, but instead received an unusual text message, according to the report.
"I got a text this morning saying they would not be here, would not be babysitting them at 5:29 [a.m.]," McCarta told WSAV-TV. "Which was kind of odd because I have them even when she doesn’t work," she said, reportedly referring to the children’s mother.
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McCarta then received a text message from Quinton’s other relatives around 9 a.m., asking if she had seen Quinton, according to the report.
"I immediately go to their house. I try to help them look, they didn’t want that. So, I’ve been just waiting around like everyone else," she went on. "My heart is broken. I’m not his mother. I’m not his family. But I love him very much And I just don’t know what could happen."
Quinton lived with his brother, his maternal grandparents, his mother and her boyfriend, local news station WJCL reported.
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The grandparents, Thomas and Billie Jo Howell, told the news station they are Quinton’s and his 3-year-old brother’s legal guardians.
"He's just a baby," Billie Jo told the news station. "And I want him home, he's just a baby."
She added that her daughter "hasn’t always done the right thing."
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"I don't know what to believe, because I don't think anybody ever believes this is going to happen to them. I don't know if I can trust her or I don't," Billie Jo went on. "I just know I'm hurting and I want this baby home. He's my baby."