Leilani Simon looks to keep 911 calls, police interviews out of court

Posted at 4:17 PM, April 16, 2024

SAVANNAH, Ga. (Court TV) — Frantic 911 calls and numerous police interviews were played in court as a mother whose young toddler was found in landfill fights to keep them out of her trial.

Leilani SImon sits in court with her attorney

Leilani Simon sits next to her attorneys at a hearing on April 16, 2024. (Court TV)

Leilani Simon is charged with the murder of her son, 20-month-old Quinton, who was reported missing on Oct. 5, 2022. Quinton’s body was discovered in a landfill near Savannah more than a month later on Nov. 18. Days later, Leilani was charged with murder.

In the days and weeks after reporting her son’s disappearance, Leilani gave a number of interviews to the police and FBI. Her attorneys have asked a judge not to allow the recordings to be entered into evidence at trial, arguing that the statements were not given willingly.

But prosecutors say that Leilani was chatty and wanted to talk to police from the very beginning. At a hearing on the issue on Tuesday, prosecutors argued that “it was the defendant who drew law enforcement to her residence by making a false report. … She brought the police detective on herself to misrepresent what she’d done.”

READ MORE: Indictment: Mom used drugs before killing Georgia toddler

Quinton Simon

This undated photo provided by the Chatham County Police Department shows toddler Quinton Simon. (Chatham County Police Department)

Leilani and her boyfriend called 911 to report the child missing on the morning of Oct. 5, 2022. The 911 call, played in court on Tuesday, included Leilani wailing in the background and telling the operator, “I can’t find my son. I can’t find my one-year-old son!” During the call, Leilani and her boyfriend tell the dispatcher that they found the front door open and that the child must have been abducted.

Parts of four separate interviews that Leilani did with police were played in court, highlighting her story, which evolved from her saying that she was home and in bed at midnight before discovering Quinton was missing at 9 a.m. to admitting that she had been out driving to a gas station at 1:25 a.m. Another interview revealed a detective accusing Leilani of needlessly accusing her ex, Quinton’s father, of being involved.

Leilani’s attorneys said that she tried to invoke her right to an attorney at least once during the interviews. She can be heard repeatedly denying any involvement in her son’s disappearance throughout the recordings, telling detectives at one point, “If I did something, y’all would have found it.”

According to an indictment filed in the case, detectives believe that Leilani killed Quinton on the morning of Oct. 5 by assaulting him with an unknown object before leaving his body in a dumpster outside of a trailer park near her home.