A vigil for Lonzie Barton was held last Thursday night at Julington Baptist Church, near the area the toddler’s remains were believed to have been found this week.
Upwards of 200 people packed the church's pews to remember the Jacksonville toddler who went missing while under the care of his mother’s boyfriend six months ago. Jimmy Alexander says he drove 3 1/2 hours from Fitzgerald, Georgia, to pay his respects to the child he never met. He’s was holding a single rose.
“I saw his face in the paper. I asked God months ago, ‘What can I do?’ I can't do much but I can come here, I can show my support,” he said. “We can’t have this happen again.”
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Chief Tom Hackney, who led the investigation, took to the pulpit and said during the search he would go home and wake up his kids to hug them. He also said he believes in prayer and prayed to find Lonzie.
Outside, people gathered around a makeshift memorial for Lonzie. The ground was covered in stuffed animals and poster-board signs. One read, “No more pain caused by heartlessness.”
Colleen Carroll was holding a little girl dressed in pink.
“I am a mom of a 2-year-old,” she said through tears. “And I couldn’t imagine losing her ever. I’m just really upset that Lonzie is never going to be able to live his life to the fullest.”
Investigators are still working to piece together what happened the night Lonzie was reported missing. His mother’s ex-boyfriend, Reuben Ebron, continues to sit in jail after leading police to the remains on Monday.