EXCLUSIVE: Quinton Simon’s babysitter exclusively told Fox News Digital that she found the boy and his little brother alone in the family pool over the summer – and now suspects the missing boy may have drowned.
“I felt like the whole time Quinton got out and maybe got in the pool,” Diana McCarta, 47, told Fox News Digital. “That’s my feelings all the time because Zayne can open the door and they’ve dated before.”
They were dirty. We fed them well because they were always hungry,” said Quinton’s babysitter, Diana McCarta. “There was definitely neglect.”
The 20-month-old child disappeared from the family’s Savannah home on October 5, and police said they believe the child was dead and was likely disposed of in a dumpster that was emptied at the local landfill.
Authorities have named the child’s mother, Leilani Simon, 22, as the prime suspect and her other two children, 6-month-old Sky and 3-year-old Zayne, have been placed in foster care.
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McCarta, who observed Simon’s three children for about nine months before Quinton’s disappearance, said her 16-year-old daughter found Quinton and Zayne alone in the family’s large backyard pool over the summer. The children cannot swim.
“I go down there and they were in the pool and we got them out — Leilani was asleep,” she told Fox News Digital. “It was scary.”
After Quinton disappeared, authorities drained the pool to search for the child.
McCarta, who has six children of her own, said Simon’s children are not well taken care of.
“Every time they came here, we bathed them. They were dirty. We fed them well because they were always hungry,” said the sitter, who lives across the street. “Definitely, there was neglect.”
The pool incident wasn’t the only time the toddlers ran away. A month ago, McCarta said she found Quinton and Zayne playing alone in a ditch two feet from the busy street in front of Simon’s house.
McCarta also said it was strange that Quinton often didn’t want to leave her house.
“Sometimes Quinton cried when he had to go with his mother,” she said.
Simon and her boyfriend – Sky’s father Daniel Youngkin – lived with her mother, Billie Jo Howell, who had custody of the children.
Howell, who has a long criminal record, was awarded custody after the court found Simon “a chronic unrehabilitated drug addict of cocaine and cannabis,” according to documents obtained by the US Sun.
Simon, who is on probation for shoplifting, allegedly admitted to using cocaine and tested positive for the drug when one of her children was born.
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Howell had left town earlier in the week, leaving the children alone with her daughter at night. At 5:20 a.m. on October 5, Simon told McCarta in a text message that she would not be dropping off the children.
McCarta said around 8:40 a.m. that Youngkin asked her if she had seen Quinton.
Later that morning, Simon reported the boy missing to police, saying Youngkin was the last person to see him at 6 a.m
Police and the FBI interviewed McCarta and searched her trash cans.
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McCarta and her family are heartbroken. “He’s a loving baby,” she said. “We just pray every day. We’re paying for him to be found, for him to be safe.”
The massive search for Quinton enters its third week. The Chatham County Police Department and the FBI have searched the city’s sprawling landfill site looking for the child’s remains.
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Chatham County Police have described the search as “the largest undertaking ever for our department.”