Welcome to The Family Ties podcast, where we discuss the lesser-known and shocking true crime cases of children who are victims of abuse, neglect, torture, and murder. The goal is to shed light on these lesser-known crimes and bring awareness to viewers and listeners about the state of children’s rights, the failings of CPS to save children, and how crimes against children get less coverage than crimes involving adult victims.
Since the last episode aired about Thomas Velva, there have been some developments in the trial. If you haven’t watched or listened to Thomas’s story, I urge you to go back in the episode and check it out. As of November 4 of 2022, the jury has reached a guilty verdict for Michael Valva, Thomas Valva’s father, abuser, and murderer, Michael was found guilty of five charges of second-degree murder and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child. In December of 2022. Michael Valva was sentenced to 25 years to life.
ABC SEVEN NEWS Reports a tearful Valva read a statement to the judge before being sentenced. My actions were neglectful and abusive to my boys resulting in the tragic death of Thomas Valva said the defense asked for a lesser sentence and highlighted Valva his career in law enforcement. But the judge still threw the book at him and gave him the maximum sentence, which I’m very, very pleased about. How did all of us as a community allow this to happen? said an equally emotional Judge William Condon. I don’t think you intended to kill Thomas. Not at all, he said a developer who was still crying. But there’s no getting around that Thomas and Anthony lived their lives in constant duress in the place they should have felt safest their own home. I have to point out how impressed I am to see an article from January 18, written for patch.com by Lisa Finn, that talks about the impact that Thomas’s story had on the jury during the trial, I’m going to read a brief snippet for you.
Many of the jurors who stood outside the courtroom after Valva’s sentencing were told to patch their voices broken that the way they look at life at children at everything will never be the same now, they want to fight for change. They want to create a world that is safe for all the children in their lives. And they want more than anything to keep Thomas’s memory alive so that no other little boy has to shiver uncontrollably in the frigid night air crying out for help, knocking on doors and walls with the faint hope that someone somehow someday will come to help. On every birthday on every cruel anniversary of Thomas Valva his death. When he was just eight years old. They will remember his sweet smiling face, light and radiant with hope. Their own lives forever darkened by the ending of his story, a story that no one was able to rewrite. Michael Valva is ex-fiance Angela Polina is trial was scheduled to start taking place in February of 2023. So that should be well underway. And I will keep you all posted as information comes out. But I did want to share that with you that there had been some developments.
Today’s episode is about the disappearance and murder of 20-month-old Quinton Simon, a tragedy that shook the small town of Savannah, Georgia. On the morning of October 5, 2022. Clinton’s mother 23-year-old Leilani Simon called the police to report that her son was missing from their home on Buckhalter Road. Quinton had last been seen in his playpen around 6 am Before he is noticed to be missing around 9 am Leilani claimed she found the front door open suggesting that someone had come in and taken him. The search for Quinton involved several agencies, including the FBI and the entire community was in shock as they tried to find the missing toddler. Chatham County police Savannah mounted patrol the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a Liberty County Sheriff’s Office canine team, a mosquito control helicopter and neighbors participated in the first searches for missing baby Quinton. So there were a lot of different age agencies involved here. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to take you guys through a timeline, but I’ll share up dates here and there just to kind of let you guys know where we are within that timeline. So on Thursday, October 6 of 2022 Chatham County Police Chief held a press conference to provide updates on the search for Quentin So the day after he’d been reported missing and the search had been had begun. Clinton’s grandparents technically had custody of the toddler and court documents obtained by W. JCL news indicate that the grandmother Billy Joe Howell was trying to get Leilani and her boyfriend Daniel out of her home.
This would indicate that for some reason or another Leilani and her boyfriend were living with Billy Joe and it kind of outstayed their welcome, but once again, this is conjecture. I don’t know the full story here. So on Friday, October 7, detectives continue the search including searches of the home, backyard pool, and pond and the FBI continues to a this investigation. Then a few days later on October 11, police find and seize evidence that is believed will close this investigation. At this point, I’m not sure what that evidence is. But as soon as we do have that information, I will be sure to update you and let you know. The following day on October 12, w JCL. News reported that the Chatham County Police later issued a statement saying in part, we are saddened to report that CCPD and the FBI have notified Quinton Simon’s family that we believe he is deceased. We have named his mother Leilani Simon as the prime suspect in his disappearance and death. But no arrests have been made and no charges had been filed. So for them to speak out like this, they have to have more than just a good hunch that Leilani was involved in this. So I don’t think they would just come out and suggest someone like this right off the bat if they didn’t have some pretty, I would say compelling evidence. Then on Thursday, October 13. Chatham County police and FBI hold the joint conference to announce that the evidence found and the search has led them to believe that Quinton is deceased and that Leilani Quentin Clinton’s mother is their primary suspect. A few days later, police and FBI share details that Clinton’s body has had been put into a dumpster and had been taken to the nearby landfill.
And that searches continued to locate Clinton’s remains the very day after the police, you know share this information that Clinton’s body was dumped into put into a dumpster and taken to a landfill. Witnesses then report seeing Leilani and her mother Billy Joe howl at a Tibi, Island establishment. Just drinking shots. No big deal. WJC l news also learned that police were called to a Tibi motel twice after hecklers discovered Clinton’s family members were staying there. So this is going to be a theme in the story here, where you have very vocal public displays of people who have you know, already made up their minds that this is the perpetrator. Leilani is guilty. And regardless of if that’s true or not, they come to this conclusion very quickly, and they do, you know, Heckle and end up really causing more trouble than demanding answers. So it’s not really a helpful kind of public accountability or public interest.
This is just kind of one of those things that just borders on harassment. And I just don’t, I don’t support it at all. You can make your voice heard, but I don’t think that you should show up to anyone’s home or harass them in places, and your you have nothing to do with the trial or investigation. I just think that that’s out of line, but it happens all the time, then. Okay, so we’re gonna jump about a week later. And on October 24. WJC on news reports that the search at the landfill resumes. So prior to this, the reason that they had paused the search was, there were some conditions at the landfill. I mean, with people there every single day, countless hours searching the conditions, they were having an impact on people’s health. And so they were kind of told, like you have to stop searching for now, you know, because toxins, all these different things that you think of being in a landfill they’re having to deal with and sift through by hand. So there was a pause, a very brief pause and then on the 24th, that search did resume.
In an interview Leilani Simon as far as to say she hopes her son will be found happy and alive, and said she’s not hiding from law enforcement. So four weeks after Quinton was reported missing Chatham County police issued this statement. Four weeks ago today we received a call that would spark the largest search and most far-reaching investigation in the history of the Chatham County Police Department. It was the call that little Quinton Simon was missing. So then in November, there’s a fifth instance where police have to arrest protesters outside of Clinton’s home. So I mean that the heckling situations going strong month later. So finally almost two months after Quinton first went missing human remains were found in the landfill and authorities believe it is Quinton and on Monday, November the 28th. The FBI confirms that the remains are indeed Clinton’s WJC l news reports that Leilani Simon is charged in the murder of her missing toddler, as well as concealing the death of another false statements or writings to conceal
Facts are fraudulent documents and matters of government and false reports of a crime. Now we’re going to jump forward to December. So Monday December 12. Billy Joe howl Clinton’s grandmother, she is found in contempt of court and sentenced to serve 10 days in jail. I personally would really like to hear more, I’m more details about this. What is Billy Joe’s level of involvement here? Is she completely innocent? Or? Or is she withholding information purposefully as well to protect Leilani. So there’s a lot of holes in the story that I wish I could fill in better for you guys is what I’m trying to get to. So then, Thursday, January 5, so we’re already into January of 2023.
This year when WJC learns that federal investigators still have Clinton’s remains, preventing the family from holding a funeral for the child. Now, as sad as I really think that’s tragic, but there’s definitely a reason they are holding his remains. From what I’ve seen and what I’ve read, I think that they the law enforcement here, I think the agencies involved in this investigation are really doing their due diligence, to make sure they have all of the details and all of the facts. But I hope that that does not get proven wrong, but it really does seem like they’re trying to make sure that they have everything in order.
So I don’t know what reason they would need to hold the body longer. If you guys happen to know why that would happen. Let me know. On Monday, January 6, Jebi JCL news reports that Leilani Simon’s lawyers asked the court to review all Department of Family and Children’s Services files that are related to her Quinton and his two siblings, their fathers and her mother, Billy Joe Howell. So according to court records, Leilani requests an in-camera inspection of the records to ensure she’ll receive a fair trial conjecture yet again. I don’t know if Billy Joe has had a report or records with the DC Department of Family and Children’s Services filed against her for some reason. But I mean, she had custody of Quinton and Leilani did not. And one other question I would like to kind of bring to the fore is that there are two other kids that Leilani has. And it doesn’t seem that they are in her custody either. So when a mother doesn’t have custody of kids, and a father figure does.
I mean typically means that you’ve done something that makes you deemed not fit to have that child in your custody. So with that being said, I would like to ask how Leilani was allowed to live in that house with Billy Joe Howell, and Clinton, if she was indeed considered to be a danger in any form to Quinton on Wednesday, January 25. W JCL. News reports that Leilani Simon was absent from her court hearing were standing judge heard arguments from prosecutors about why media access should be denied at the murder trial. The judge did not rule on that matter at the time.
But just remember, this is this is interesting that prosecutors are the ones who are not wanting media access to this. So I don’t know if it’s due to the sensitivity of the nature of this case, or what the reasoning is behind that winning media there. But this request came from prosecution, not the defense, which you know, usually is kind of the other way around
So WJC l 22. ABC News reports that the state of Georgia is seeking possible new evidence in the death of a savannah toddler whose mother Leilani assignment is charged with his murder. The state has subpoenaed Aspen dental for its records pertaining to the dental treatment of Leilani Simon, between the dates of October 1 and October the fifth, we’ll get into why. So also subpoenaed were any journals, diaries and other writings of Leilani. Simon currently in the possession of her mother, Billy Joe Howell, who had custody of Quinton at the time he was reported missing. So this whole thing about the dental records I may not have the full story on this but in part, part of the explanation here is that in December Leilani, had falsely told investigators that she had met a friend to obtain oral gel, a topical oral pain reliever, she, I think, is trying to use this as her alibi.
So if they can poke holes in this and get her dental records and show, you know if a procedure was performed or not, or you know, the validity behind this or gel claim, that’s my impression at the moment. So Leilani faces 19 counts, including malice murder, felony murder, concealing a death and making false statements. She’s accused of killing Simon by unknown means and then disposing of his body in a dumpster at the Azalia mobile home Plaza during the early morning hours of October 5, before reporting him missing.
After Clinton’s body was found Leilani was arrested three days later, after tests at the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia confirmed that the remains were human. I also wonder if there was any DNA evidence that they were able to collect here that really kind of sealed the deal that yeah, let’s, let’s grab Leilani so now we’re into February. So February 2 of this year. WJC l 22. News, reports that the defense filed a motion to quash the subpoena issued on January 25, to Aspen dental, and Simon’s mother, Billy Joe, saying it would violate Leilani Simon’s Fourth Amendment rights to unreasonable search and seizure. So they’re saying in the filing the public defender, Robert ATTREX, Jr. argues that the motion would in effect make How will act as an agent of law enforcement and force her to unlawfully search for evidence as the defendant enjoys an expectation of privacy. Let me just say Quinton was living at Billy Joe’s home, that was her home. So she’s not acting as an investigator, when there’s a case an ongoing investigation, a person may be asked to turn over certain bits of property or, you know, let investigators search the house all of these different things. So her being ordered to kind of handover maybe text messages or all of these different things. That’s not out of the ordinary and that is definitely in my personal opinion, not having anything to do with making Billy Joel act as a law enforcement agent here and unlawfully searched for evidence. So I find that real rather flimsy and I hope that that does not stand so back to the dental records.
The request the subpoena for those dental records during those specific dates. In an article by Fox News, Julie Randleman, a New York-based criminal defense attorney and the former prosecutor told Fox News digital, she believed prosecutors were likely seeking dental records to further establish a timeline as it pertains to her whereabouts and her alleged false claims to need or a gel. So like I said, I do think it has a lot to do with trying to poke holes in Leilani story and we’ll we’ll see if that guest proves Correct. That same Fox News article goes on to reveal that Leilani Simon allegedly used an unknown object to beat her son which did result in serious bodily injury and caused Clinton’s death the document states so now we’re now that we’re into February we’re starting to get the cause of death kind of revealed a little bit we know he was killed but we don’t know what exactly happened. So he was beaten to death mix gives me cold chills. And you know, as you look at this little boy’s face, you just wonder how so the October 5 assault caused the toddler cruel and excessive physical pain. According to the court papers. That same morning, Simon allegedly traveled to Azalia mobile home Plaza and discarded her son’s remains in a dumpster. The indictment charges. Additionally, Fox says that the indictment described how Simon met her drug dealer the day before Clinton’s death on October fourth, and have used controlled substances before the killing people.com reports that the indictment against Leilani Simon alleges she caused Quinton cruel and excessive physical pain by beating him to death with an object after using drugs. So she’s going to try and blame this on drugs and I would have to know what exactly she was using to kind of make any other kind of judgment calls on whether I think That’s bogus or legitimate.