Ebron charged in plot to escape from jail |
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The chief suspect in the disappearance of 21-month-old Lonzie Barton faces new charges following his arrest for an alleged plot to escape from the Duval County Pretrial Detention Facility.
William “Ruben” Ebron, 32, is accused of concocting a plot to stash keys in his sock and mouth and then use them to slip out of his handcuffs, jump out of a jail van and escape in a getaway car, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrest report.
Investigators found out about the plan Monday when another inmate came forward with multiple recorded conversations detailing how Ebron allegedly planned to escape from custody. “Ebron directed the inmate to have the getaway car placed east of the jail,” the report said.
Ebron was arrested Thursday on charges of attempted escape from a jail, criminal conspiracy, unlawful possession of a concealed handcuff key, and smuggling contraband into a detention facility, all felonies, jail records show.
Ebron is being held without bond at the jail. He’s been in custody on two counts of felony child neglect since July 24.
Ebron was later charged Aug. 14 with giving false information to law enforcement, a felony, after the Sheriff’s Office said the story he had told police -- about his car being stolen with Lonzie possibly inside -- the night of the toddler’s disappearance was made up.
He has pleaded not guilty to the child neglect and false information charges, court records show.
Investigators suspect instead that the child had been murdered, not abducted as Ebron has insisted, JSO Chief of Investigation Tom Hackney has said.
Ebron reported Lonzie, the son of Lonna Lauramore Barton, missing July 24, saying he had been looking after Lonzie and the toddler’s sister when he stopped at Ravenwood Apartments and went inside, leaving the children unattended in his car about 2 a.m. When the girl came inside without her younger brother, Ebron said he ran outside to find the car driving away.
Surveillance video obtained from a neighboring home discredited Ebron’s story, police said. It appears to show Ebron’s car driving one way down the street and then, minutes later, Ebron can be seen running shirtless in the opposite direction, according to JSO.
On July 23, the day before Lonzie was reported missing, the child’s mother was told about a bruise on the back of his head and confronted Ebron about it, said Chief Hackney. "Lonzie had yellow fluid coming from his ears, he was lethargic and vomiting," Hackney said.
Despite that incident, Barton left her children in Ebron’s care and in the presence of drugs, police said. Ebron, who kept drugs at the apartment Barton shared with her children, would routinely take Lauramore with him on drug deals, Chief Hackney told reporters.
"She found it in the best interest of Lonzie to have him in the car" too, he said.
Barton was arrested Aug. 19 on charges of child neglect and giving false information to law enforcement. She was released Monday on $50,000 bond.
"We are still full speed ahead at making a murder case, especially against Ruben Ebron," Chief Hackney said while announcing Barton’s arrest. "...I will take the truth from either of them, at any given time."