JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If the remains found in a trash heap in Bayard are those of 21-month-old Lonzie Barton, the big question for the Medical Examiner's office will be how the little boy died. A criminology professor from UNF tells News4Jax that finding out if it is Lonzie shouldn't be that hard because they should have DNA to compare the remains with. However, finding out how he died could be nearly impossible because he says outside elements play a big role in that.
How did Lonzie die? It's a question many people want answered. Police may be getting closer to figuring that out because of information they got from their prime suspect, Ruben Ebron.
"He had the information, He provided the information and it is very typical in criminal cases for people to use that in a plea bargain,” said David Forde, a professor at UNF who specializes in criminology and is the Criminology and Criminal Justice Chair at UNF.
No agreement has been finalized although sources told News4Jax one had been discussed. First, police need to figure out if in fact the remains do belong to the toddler that disappeared more than 6 months ago.
"They have a very good idea who the remains are and it's most likely that a DNA test will be done and an answer should be available in the near future,” said Forde.
Forde says they can use DNA from either Lonna Barton or another family member to help compare it. He says the tricky part will be figuring it out the cause of death simply because it was out in the open- slightly covered but, exposed to the elements – wind, rain, heat, even animals. No matter what, the medical examiner will do its best.
"When you're looking at bones you're looking for obvious broken bones, maybe you're looking for obvious hits where there could be a broken or crushed skull. There are many things that could be there but again not knowing the extent to which it was covered up and not knowing to the extent which it was disturbed we don't really know what kind of things will be there,” said Forde.
A theory that was going around is that Lonzie somehow got into drugs and overdosed. Again, this is only a theory but, Forde says if that's the case, it may be impossible for forensic technicians to figure that out because most likely illegal drugs would not be in their bones unless it was used for a long period of time.
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