Grandmother of deceased Georgia toddler Quinton Simon arrested

The grandmother of the deceased Georgia toddler Quinton Simon — whose remains were found in a Savannah landfill last month and whose mother was arrested and charged with his death — has been arrested, according to online records and NBC affiliate WSAV of Savannah.

The arrest of Billie Jo Betterton, 45, is not related to her grandson’s death, WSAV reported. The nature of the charge against her was not clear in online records from the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.

There is no bond set, according to the online records. It was not immediately clear whether Betterton has retained a lawyer, according to a spokesperson for the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office, who added that the investigation is ongoing.

Betterton’s mugshot shows her wearing a suicide prevention smock, Parla Parker, public information officer for the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed. Parker declined to elaborate, citing HIPAA requirements that protect inmates’ health information.

Parker directed additional questions regarding the arrest to Chatham County Juvenile Court. Officials with the juvenile court could not immediately be reached, and court records related to the arrest were not immediately available online.

A spokesperson for the Chatham County Police Department said the department was not involved in making the arrest.

Betterton’s arrest comes two weeks after the FBI’s Atlanta division identified remains in the Superior Landfill in Savannah as those of her toddler grandson through DNA analysis after finding the remains on Nov. 18. Quinton’s cause of death has not yet been determined, according to the Chatham County Coroner’s Office.

The toddler’s mother, Leilani Simon, 22, was arrested on Nov. 21 and charged with malice murder, concealing the death of another person, false reporting and making false statements. Her next hearing is set for Jan. 11, court records show.

Police previously said they did not expect to make any other arrests in the case. 

Quinton Simon.
Quinton Simon.Chatham County Police Dept.

Court records show that Betterton, who also goes by the last name Howell, sought to evict Simon, her boyfriend and her kids from her home in September.

“Not looking to be compensated. Just want them to move out as quick as possible,” Betterton wrote in the Sept. 8 filing. “They have damaged my property and at this point no one is living in peace.”

That notice was served to Simon and her boyfriend a little over a week later, records show.

Quinton’s mother reported him missing on Oct. 5 from his home in an unincorporated part of Chatham County, Georgia, near Savannah.

The search for Quinton drew widespread attention and a large law enforcement response — including more than 40 FBI agents — who spent 30 days sifting through 1.2 million pounds of trash, officials said.

A week after Quinton’s disappearance, officials said they believed he was dead and that they considered his mother to be “the prime suspect in his disappearance and death.” Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said investigators had evidence that prompted the search of the landfill, but declined to say what it was.

Betterton’s arrest also comes more than a month after both of Quinton’s paternal grandparents died, WSAV reported. Quinton’s grandfather, Henry Dale Moss Sr., 61, was killed in an alleged hit and run in Burke County, about 95 miles northwest of Savannah, on Nov. 2. NBC affiliate WLBT of Jackson, Mississippi, reported that Moss’s son is Quinton’s father.

A public information officer for the Burke County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday there were no updates available in that case.

WSAV reported that Quinton’s grandmother passed away the week before the alleged hit-and-run. Further information on her death was not immediately available.

Dennis Romero, Mirna Alsharif, Phil Helsel, The Associated Press, Juliette Arcodia and Minyvonne Burke contributed.

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