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Search For Missing Toddler Lonzie Barton Now Homicide Investigation

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

The five-day search for missing Jacksonville toddler Lonzie Barton has turned into a homicide investigation. That’s what Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Investigations Director Tom Hackney said Tuesday afternoon.

The 21-month-old boy was reported abducted early Friday morning by his mother’s boyfriend, William “Ruben” Ebron, who is now the main suspect in the investigation.

Hackney says Ebron has been misleading and unhelpful when talking to officers. But he does have a constitutional right to say as little as he chooses.

Hackney says investigators will continue their efforts in the search for Lonzie until he is found. 

“Please know that if there’s a way legally that we can do what we need to do to solve this case and find this child, you 'bet your bippy' we’re doing it,” said Hackney.

Hackney says the odds of the child’s survival in the heat and rain are not good. He says he can only assume the search is for a body after this amount of time.

Hackney says officers are working off approximately 200 tips as they build a case against Ebron.

Erica Protsman is a student at the University of North Florida. In December of 2015, Erica will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Communication, with a focus in Multimedia Journalism and a minor in Spanish. She is the Vice President of ESPN3 at the University of North Florida, where she coordinates team meetings and events for students in the club. Erica currently is an intern here at WJCT and plans to be a news reporter upon graduation.