Desperate search continues for toddler who went missing while his mother's boyfriend was looking after him
- William Ruben Ebron Jr, 32, has been arrested in connection to 21-month-old Lonzie Barton's disappearance
- Investigators believe Ebron is lying about the child's whereabouts
- Details of his violent past have emerged alleging he is a stalker and rapist
- An amber alert was issued for Lonzie last Friday after he was reported missing
- He was last seen at apartments in Jacksonville
- Ebron told police the boy was abducted from outside the apartment while inside his car when it was stolen
- An orange 1995 Honda Civic was driven away with the little boy inside
Searchers have combed over 60 bodies of water, 40 square miles, and more than 2,000 homes and businesses in recent days, looking for a toddler who went missing eight days ago after his mother's boyfriend said someone stole his car while the boy slept inside, officials said Friday.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detective Chief Tom Hackney said during a news conference that the search for 21-month-old Lonzie Barton in northeast Florida will soon be being scaled back, but the investigation into the boy's disappearance is ongoing.
'I do not want that beautiful boy's resting place to be anything but the softest of the soft,' Hackney said.
Lonzie went missing July 23.
Investigators believe the car theft and abduction in Florida did not occur as William Ruben Ebron Jr (pictured left), 32, described and believe he was lying about 21-month-old Lonzie Barton's (right) disappearance
Ebron had told police that he had got Lonzie and his five-year-old sister ready to go pick up their mother, 25-year-old Lonna Barton, from her job at Wacko's Gentlemen's Club, when his Honda Civic was stolen with the boy still inside
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the man who lived with Lonzie's mother and was caring for the boy and his 5-year-old sister is a suspect.
Investigators have said William Ruben Ebron Jr. isn't cooperating with them. He's in jail without bond on two counts of felony child neglect in relation to the case, but investigators won't give details on those charges, citing privacy laws.
Ebron has a lengthy arrest history, records show, including convictions for misdemeanor battery charges, robbery and grand theft.
His ex-girlfriend also filed several domestic violence injunctions against him.
Police reported that the stolen vehicle was recovered about 15 to 20 minutes later but Lonzie was not found inside (the boy pictured above with his parents, Lonna Barton and Christopher Barton)
Authorities said Lonna Barton and the boy's father, Christopher Barton, 40, were being cooperative. Police said neither of them are involved in Lonzie's disappearance
Ebron, the boyfriend of Lonzie's mom, had told police he saw his orange 1995 Honda Civic, pictured, being driven away with the little boy inside
Ebron initially told authorities that Lonzie was in the car when it was stolen. The car was quickly recovered, but Lonzie was not.
Ebron told The Florida Star newspaper on Wednesday that he was caring for his girlfriend's two children.
He told The Star that the 5-year-old girl wanted to stay inside an apartment with his roommate. Lonzie, he told the paper, was asleep in the car.
Ebron said he left Lonzie in the car to go inside to charge his cellphone, and when he returned to the car, he saw it take off.
Officers found the car shortly after Ebron called police, but detectives want to know where it traveled that night.
As the search for the boy continues, new information has already come to light about Ebron's violent past. Court records show he is alleged to be a stalker and rapist, who attacked his ex-girlfriend and left her with cracked ribs
Hackney said Lonzie's mother has been cooperative, but he called Ebron's interview with the paper 'fiction.'
'I'm tired of asking him to do the right thing,' Hackney said.
A call to the Duval County Public Defender's office, which is representing Ebron, was not immediately returned.
The reward to find Lonzie now stands at more than $12,000. Officials said they've received upwards of 400 tips in the case.
The search for Lonzie also turned up two unrelated sets of human remains.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said this week that a man's remains and clothing were found Monday near a business park.
They had apparently been there at least a year. Foul play wasn't suspected.
On Tuesday, searchers found a car linked to a 2003 missing-persons case at the bottom of a pond. Skeletal remains appeared to be inside.