I have tried to refrain from writing about the Lonzie Barton case. As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, people ask me about my thoughts on the case. To start with, this is a sad situation that is difficult to discuss without expressing emotion or passing judgment. I have been a Jacksonville criminal attorney for a while, so I know that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. I also know that it is wrong to publicly convict someone when there are so many open questions and a lack of evidence. It is still hard not to have feelings about a case like this. I am not alone. This Duval County case has captured the attention of the local and national media. If you read news articles on your computer, like I do, you know that the last information about Lonzie Barton, William Ebron Jr., and Lonna Lauramore is always on the homepage. The local Jacksonville news stations even have links for full coverage of the Lonzie Barton case.
This case is big and going to get bigger. Many people compare Lonzie Barton’s case to the Casey Anthony investigation and trial in Orlando FL. In 2011, a Orange County “jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of counts one through three regarding first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and aggravated child abuse, while finding her guilty on counts four through seven for providing false information to law enforcement.” (Death of Caylee Anthony) While Casey Anthony’s murder case was pending, I became very interested. Perhaps it was due to my career and being a criminal lawyer in Florida? Maybe I was just extremely curious like the rest of the country? Maybe it is because no matter what we do for a living, we all love children and want to know what happened when one goes missing? I do not know the reason, but I see the same interest peaking with Lonzie Barton’s case. That being said, I see myself writing several articles about this case in the future. Since it appears to be inevitable that I will be writing about the criminal cases that are pending in Duval County, I am going to start with a timeline of some of the pertinent events that have occurred during the initial search for Lonzie Barton.
Timeline Surrounding Lonzie Barton’s Disappearance
Lonie Barton was reported missing in Jacksonville in the early morning hours on Friday, July 24, 2015. Any information in quotes in the following section was found in an article posted on The Florida Times Union’s website.
Thursday: July 23, 2015
- At 8:00 p.m. on the night before Barton was reported as missing, his mother, Lonna Lauramore went to “Wacko’s, a gentlemen’s club near the corner of Emerson Street and Spring Park Road, where she works. She later tells police that is the last time she saw her son, Lonzie Barton, a 21-month-old toddler.”
Friday: July 23, 2015
- Just after 2:00 a.m. the next morning, Lauramore’s boyfriend, William Ebron, made an emergency 911 call informing the dispatcher that “someone drove off in his orange 1995 Honda Civic and that Lonzie was in the car.”
- When police arrive, Ebron tells police he put Lonzie and his 5-year-old sister inside the car so that they could pick up Lauramore at Wacko’s.” He went back into the apartment and left the children in the car. “The 5-year-old came back into the apartment,” and Ebron “went back out to the parking lot, he saw an unknown person drive off in his car.”
- Around 2:37 a.m., “Ebron’s Honda is found in the 8100 block of Cesperdes Avenue, a short distance from the apartment building.”
- By 6:22 a.m., The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued an Amber Alert for the missing toddler.
- At noon on Friday, “Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Chief Tom Hackney says the 5-year-old said she saw her brother in the car before she went back into the house. He says Ebron and Lauramore are being cooperative and the boyfriend provides them with a list of his whereabouts and activities.”
- Ebron has criminal charges pending in Baker County for “drug possession, tampering with evidence and resisting arrest without violence.” By Friday afternoon, his bond was revoked.
- At 11:20 p.m., “Ebron is admitted into the Duval County jail and charged with two counts of child neglect.”
Saturday, July 25, 2015
- In the morning, “JSO believes Ebron to be lying about the car theft.” Therefore, “the boy could have gone missing earlier, sometime between 8 p.m. and 2:20 a.m. Friday.”
- The search for Barton continues and encompasses the Southside of Jacksonville.
- Around 2:00 p.m., Ebron appears in court. The Duval County presiding “judge granted $100,000 bail — $50,000 for each charge. The judge orders Ebron have no contact with Lonzie’s mother, another woman with a domestic violence injunction against him, the families of the two alleged victims or any children under age 18, and Ebron must also wear a GPS device, cannot use drugs or possess guns.” It is important to note that, as the date of this article, Ebron is still being held in the Duval County Jail. He has not bonded out of jail. One of the reasons for this may be due to the fact Ebron’s bond has been revoked in Baker County, and he has a detainer holding him even if he did post bail for the Duval County charges. The search for Barton continues. “JSO dive team searched a retention pond at the Philips Highway and 9A exchange Saturday afternoon, as well as other ponds across the area.”