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JSO Cancels Amber Alert For Lonzie Barton; Case Now Murder Investigation

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says it is cancelling an Amber Alert for 21-month-old Lonzie Barton, who was reported missing more than a week ago.

Police say they have evidence the toddler was killed.

William Ruben Ebron was taking care of Lonzie the night he disappeared. Ebron placed a 911 call 2:20 a.m. on Friday telling police his car was stolen, and Lonzie was inside.

JSO released surveillance footage Monday of Ebron driving his car to where it was later found and running back toward his apartment without the toddler just minutes before he placed the 911 call.

Investigation Chief Tom Hackney says this proves Ebron’s story is a lie.

“His story that he was in the car, ran upstairs to get cocaine, as he’s told that we’ve let out before, that’s not true. His whole story explanation is nothing but a load of lies,” Hackney said.

Hackney says JSO is working the case as a murder investigation.

Hackney said, “I want the child’s body. I want the child’s body to be taken back to his family to be put to rest properly.”

Hackney is asking Ebron’s friends and family to relay this new information to him, and ask him to tell the truth. Ebron has refused to answer any more questions from investigators while he's in jail on child-neglect charges. There’s a Crime Stoppers reward for more than $13,000 for anyone who can lead JSO to Lonzie’s body.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.