Police claim a Florida man lied to them about his girlfriend’s son being abducted from outside of his apartment, and they have now arrested him in connection with the toddler's disappearance.
The toddler, 21-month-old Lonzie Barton, disappeared while in a car belonging to William Ruben Ebron Jr., 32, his mother’s boyfriend, on July 24 after 2 a.m. in Jacksonville, Florida, Fox News reported.
Ebron is now a suspect in the disappearance and has been arrested. He told investigators the baby was in his car when the vehicle was stolen while he went into his apartment to get something.
He told officers that he put Lonzie and Lonzie's 5-year-old sister in the car to go pick up their mother, 25-year-old Lonna Barton, from Wacko’s Gentlemen’s Club, where she works. He told police that he had left the car running and ran inside to the apartment to use cocaine.
While he was inside, the 5-year-old girl came back inside and told him “she was scared," according to Ebron. He said he ran outside to check on the baby and saw his car being driven away with the boy inside.
The car was found about 15 to 20 minutes later and only several blocks away — but the child was not inside.
An Amber Alert was issued for Lonzie and a massive manhunt for the baby boy followed.
Chief of Detectives Tom Hackney named Ebron the suspect in the case and investigators accused him of lying.
Authorities no longer believe the car theft and abduction occurred as Ebron reported.
“We now have evidence and information to the fact that the story he gave about his vehicle being stolen with the victim in the back seat was not true," Hackney said. "We are not working this as a stranger abduction anymore."
Ebron was arrested on July 25 and charged with two counts of child neglect. His bail was set at $100,000, reports the Daily Mail.
Police took him from his jail cell to search for Lonzie with investigators. They have yet to find Lonzie.
Ebron’s parents said they do not believe their son intentionally hurt the child, Daily Mail reported.
“He said he spent so much time with little Lonzie," William Ebron Sr., the suspect's father, said. "He’s the one that’s potty trained him, he’s the one doing things for him because he’s watching him while she works. He stated that little Lonzie even started calling him daddy.”
Police say neither Lonna Barton, the mother, nor the boy’s father, 40-year-old Christopher Barton, had anything to do with the disappearance.
Ebron reportedly has a lengthy arrest record, including cases of domestic abuse.