JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -- The spokesman for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office stopped just short Monday of calling Lonzie Barton’s case a murder investigation. Barton is the Jacksonville toddler that was reported missing early Friday.
Investigators have named Barton’s mother’s boyfriend, William Ruben Ebron, Junior, a suspect in the case. Ebron was jailed after the boy’s disappearance on charges of child neglect and probation violation. He has exercised his right to remain silent ever since.
“We want to preserve Lonzie’s rights. He has the right not to be thrown away like trash,” Chief Mike Hackney of the sheriff’s office said in a press conference in which he again appealed to Ebron for information about the child’s whereabouts.
The investigation has focused on Ebron since the very beginning. Officials say Ebron reported Lonzie missing early Friday, but Ebron’s story didn’t ring true.
Investigators turned their focus to a wooded area with multiple bodies of water which is just down the road from a South Jacksonville neighborhood where Ebron once lived.
“They had at least fifty cars in there. They went door to door asking questions,” said Larry Woods.
Monday marked day four of the search for Lonzie. Multiple agencies again searched for signs of the boy. Woods said he continues to hope for the best, even as the sheriff’s office indicated that hopes of finding the boy alive are dwindling.
“It’s that feeling. It’s that bad feeling. It never turns out the way good for some reason,” Woods said.