JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The men and women who have gone above and beyond in the name of crime victims were honored Tuesday at an annual luncheon downtown, during Victims' Rights Week.
Those recognized included members of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office who worked on the Lonzie Barton case.
The mayor's Victim Assistance Advisory Council presented the officers with an award, and JSO Director Tom Hackney thanked everyone who helped in the search for Lonzie.
The toddler was reported missing last July, leading to a multicounty search that lasted over a week.
Ruben Ebron, the man who initially reported Lonzie was inside his car when it was stolen, later admitted the boy drowned in a bathtub. Ebron hid the boy's body in a trash pile in the woods near Bayard. He is now serving 20 years for aggravated manslaughter in the toddler's death.
Lonzie was formally laid to rest in Baker County last week at a private funeral.
Hackney spoke about attending the service.
“I had the honor of being asked by the family to go to his burial, and I can tell you on behalf of the JSO team, the JFRD team, and the community, I said a little prayer at that boy's casket, knowing that that was the effort that we were moving toward,” Hackney said. “To be able to have the opportunity on a beautiful, sunny day, under an oak tree, to see him laid to rest where he belongs, it was touching.”
Lonzie's parents, Lonna and Chris Barton, who pleaded guilty to drug and other charges, were allowed out of prison to attend.