Bullying accusations surround questioning in Lonzie Barton case

Ruben Ebron suspected in disappearance of Lonzie Barton

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ruben Ebron continues to sit behind bars Wednesday, the prime suspect in the disappearance of 21-month-old Lonzie Barton who vanished over two weeks ago.

As the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office continues to build a murder case against him, family and associates of Ebron are being questioned, including Ebron's parents, who are coming forward saying that the State Attorney's Office bullied them during questioning about what may have happened with Lonzie.

After interviewing William and Wanda Ebron, Ruben Ebron's parents, William Ebron came forward saying that his wife came to him and said that while the State Attorney's Office and State Attorney Angela Corey were interviewing her they became aggressive and bullied her.

The State Attorney's Office paints a different picture however, saying in a statement:

"The hostility came from one direction, Wanda Ebron. Mrs. Ebron was hostile, uncooperative and evasive in the interview which took place on August 6. State Attorney Angela Corey had very little interaction with Mrs. Ebron other than to explain what her obligations were and to diffuse Mrs. Ebron's hostile demeanor. There is a record of this interview and that record will show."

As police build their case against Ebron for a potential murder charge, attorney Gene Nichols, who is not associated with the case, said police have their work cut out for them right now.

"The state has a difficult case without a body, without question Angela Corey can do it, she's done it before, and they've been successful, but without an admission or a body, it's going to be very hard," Nichols said.

Nichols said that Ebron, who's facing two counts of child neglect, could face a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted on both of those charges. Nichols said plea deals are likely off the table and he anticipates attorneys will take their time. He also points out that Ebron's arrest violates probation that he is on in Baker County.

"Realistically speaking, he has to deal with Jacksonville first, because Jacksonville and this charge is a tremendous problem for him with his violation of probation. If he beat it, then they can't violate him for that, but if he doesn't beat it, enters a plea or goes to trial, that's going to violate his case in Baker County, so he's not going anywhere," Nichols said.

Nichols said finding Lonzie's body is the key to this case, because as awful as it sounds, there are other horrible outcomes for this missing child.

Nichols said there is a distinct possibility that Lonzie could have been sold, he said there is a chance that someone has the child right now. He adds that while this is an awful thing to consider, in a court of law it's just as reasonable as if Ebron took the child's life.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.