Lonzie Barton, a cute 21-month-old toddler, went missing last Thursday from the home where he lived with his mom in Jacksonville, Florida. According to what the boyfriend of Lonzie’s mom told investigators, the child was waiting in car with the motor running waiting for the boyfriend — 32-year-old William Ebron, Jr. — to drive with him to pick up his mom from work.
But Ebron said that he ran back into the house for just a few moments, when he realized he’d forgotten something. And when he came back out, he told the cops, the car was gone, with little Lonzie inside.
Police located the vehicle just about 20 minutes later — without Lonzie inside. They issued an Amber Alert, but as of late Sunday, three days since the little boy vanished, there was still no sign of Lonzie and police were asking the public, not just for help, but for prayers as well.
There is one man, police believe, who knows what happened to Lonzie. They have the man in custody — but he refuses to cooperate. That man is Willam Ebron, Jr., the lover of Lonzie’s mom, Lonna Lauramore Barton.
As it turns out, Ebron ran back into the house not because he forget something, but because he wanted to snort cocaine in an upstairs bedroom. Police arrested him Friday on an unrelated drug charge, and two counts of child neglect from a separate case.
Police say that when he told them the story of how Lonzie vanished, Ebron was making it all up.
“Without a doubt, the report that he gave, that his car was taken by some unknown suspect and left by some unknown suspect is a lie and is not true,” said Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Chief Detective Tom Hackney.
“Honestly, I don’t know what happened to Lonzie,” Hackney added. “I can’t say at this point and time whether Lonzie is alive or dead.”
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s office on Saturday officially named Ebron as a suspect in the little boy’s disappearance, which police are treating as a child abduction until they determine otherwise.
A massive search has been underway for Lonzie, who has blonde hair and blue eyes, and stands about 30-inches tall, but so far, search efforts have turned up nothing. The Amber Alert remains in effect.
Police do not believe that Lonzie’s mom, though she lives with Ebron, has anything to do with the abduction of Lonzie Barton. As of Sunday they have also ruled out the boy’s father who resides in Baker County, Florida.
“Ebron has the answer that I need,” Hackney told the press on Sunday. “He’s lying to us. He’s trying to manipulate investigators.”
Police ask anyone with information about Lonzie Barton — or anyone who saw or was with Ebron between 8 p.m. Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday, July 24, to call 866-845-TIPS, where a $3,000 reward is now being offered.
[Images: Jackson County Sheriff’s Office)