Jacksonville Sheriff's Office 'confident' that Ruben Ebron killed Lonzie Barton

Reward for info in case of missing 21-month-old boy upped to $13K

Lonzie Barton.
Lonzie Barton.

Authorities announced late Monday the Amber Alert for 21-month-old Lonzie Barton is canceled and they are 100 percent sure the toddler who disappeared 10 days ago was killed by mother's boyfriend.

"I'm cancelling the Amber Alert and not working this as an abduction anymore," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Chief of Investigations Tom Hackney said. "We are working this as a murder case. You need to know that. Ruben Ebron needs to know that."

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WJXT reports this comes after the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office obtained surveillance video that that it said shows Ebron abandoning the car he claimed was stolen with Lonzie Barton inside and running away minutes before he called 911 to report it stolen and the toddler taken.

Police said Ebron was wearing the same clothes as the man running in the video when he taken in for police interviews after reporting the abduction. 

"I'm not much of a poker player. I know that you are not supposed to show your hand, but today I'm about to do just that. I have reasons to do that," Hackney said, adding a comment directed to the suspect: "Ruben, you are building this house of cards with losing hand. I'm stacking the deck with the truth."

Hackney appealed again for Ebron or those who have information about what happened to Lonzie to come forward with any possible explanation other than that the car theft story was made up to cover up the child's death.

"His narrative is crumbling, We have a surprising amount of physical evidence," Hackney said.

Ebron is being held in jail on two counts of child neglect.

The reward was increased to more than $13,000 for any information that leads to Lonzie.

For 10 days, investigators from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office teamed with personnel from agencies across the state and region in a full-scale search for Lonzie. As many as 200 investigators were out scouring the Southside and Northside last week, but those efforts were scaled back to about 70 investigators over the weekend.

After the first several days, Hackney said the chance of finding Lonzie alive was "slipping away" and began talking in terms of recovering a body and building a murder case against Ebron, who initially reported Lonzie was abducted in a car theft at the Ravenwood Apartments on Old Kings Road.

Police later said they believe Ebron's story was a lie and that he knows where the toddler was left.

Hackney said police plan to check new areas as evidence and tips provide additional information about where Lonzie's body might be.