Active investigation at suspected site of Lonzie Barton remains comes to an end

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Chief of investigations for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Tom Hackney told Action News Jax the department was hoping to wrap up the investigation site in Bayard Friday, but police said the rainy weather earlier in the day slowed things down.

Police discovered what they believed to be missing 21-month-old Lonzie Barton's remains in the Bayard area after the main suspect in the toddler's disappearance, Ruben Ebron, led investigators there.

Friday afternoon, the police tape remained up, along with one patrol car. The scene was cleared late Friday afternoon.

The Hayes family lives just a few blocks from the site.

“Finding him so close, it’s just hard to put in words,” Scott Hayes said.

“Really quite an emotional experience for all of us,” Robert Hayes said.

Robert Hayes’ grandson and Scott Hayes’ son, Hunter Hayes, just turned 2 this month.

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Robert Hayes said he can’t imagine losing a loved one as young as Lonzie, but he does understand the pain of losing a child.

“I have actually lost my youngest son a few years ago,” Robert Hayes said. “He was 21 when I lost him, so I know what it’s like to lose a loved one.”

Police have been searching and gathering evidence in the wooded area all week.

Scott Hayes said he was heartbroken by the loss but grateful the toddler will get a proper burial.

“I am glad he’s found,” Scott Hayes said. “It puts closure to a lot of it and puts it to rest.”

A memorial for Lonzie with balloons and flowers sits on Snyder Street, not far from where the remains were found.

“Coming out here too gives me a sense of closure,” Phyllis Isham said.

Isham is a grandmother and said she was devastated by the child’s death.

“This helps me just coming out here looking and praying for God to take care of him,” Isham said.

The medical examiner's office said it could take several months to positively identify the remains, but JSO said it strongly believes it is Lonzie.

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