Police and FBI agents are frantically searching for a toddler who went missing from his Georgia house five days ago.
The 20-month-old boy, Quinton Simon, was reported missing by his mother Wednesday morning after she last saw him in his playpen at the Savannah home she shares with her parents around 6 a.m.
Officers are working 18-hour days to try to locate the boy and have searched multiple areas, including the home, a backyard pool and a nearby pond since the little boy went missing, but have come up empty-handed thus far.
“I hope he’s still alive,” Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said about little Quinton at a press conference Thursday. “We don’t have any information to believe he’s not, but statistically, we know how these cases may end up.”
Hadley added that officers have found no evidence that suggests foul play was involved in the boy’s disappearance.
“We’re going to hold out hope that he’s still alive, that we can find him and bring him home safe to his parents,” he said.
The department and the FBI have deployed K-9 teams, drones, helicopters, officers on horseback and heat-detecting technology in the search for Quinton.
Quinton lived in a house with his 22-year-old mother, his 3-year-old brother, his mother’s boyfriend and his maternal grandparents, local ABC affiliate WJCL reported.
His grandparents, Billie Jo and Thomas Howell, have legal custody of Quinton and his older brother, according to the local station.
“She hasn’t always done the right thing,” Billie Jo Howell said of her daughter Leilani, Quinton’s mom, in an interview with the station. “Sometimes she does really great, sometimes she doesn’t … I don’t know if I can trust her — I don’t.”
She fought back tears as she said she just wanted the baby home.
“I just know I’m hurting and I want this baby home,” she said. “He’s my baby.”
Court records obtained by WJCL show that Billie Jo Howell attempted to evict the child’s mother and her boyfriend from her home in early September.
“They have damaged my property and at this point no one is living in peace,” she said in the court filing.
Police have responded to the home twice in the last two years, according to the Chatham County Police Department. The department didn’t provide details on those calls, but said neither were for previous reports of a missing child.
Police said Wednesday there was no evidence that Quinton was abducted and that his case doesn’t appear to be a custody dispute.
However, officers have not completely ruled out that the boy could have been kidnapped and the FBI is aiding the search due to it being a potential abduction.
The Chatham County Police Department is continuing to treat Quinton’s disappearance as a missing persons case.
The department said officers are recanvassing specific areas Sunday morning as they continue to search for the child.
Police officials also introduced a new tip line — 912-667-3134 — specifically created for information regarding the child and his disappearance.
“Finding Quinton Simon is our highest priority, and the intensity of our work is as strong as it has been since the day of his disappearance,” the department said in a statement.