JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One month after her son disappeared, the mother of Lonzie Barton posted $50,000 bond and was released from the Duval County jail late Monday afternoon.
Lonna Lauramore Barton. 25. was arrested last week on charges of child neglect and giving false information in a missing person's case. According to records on the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office website, AAA Help Bail Bonding in Macclenny posted the bond.
One woman who was in jail with Lonna Barton said she was outraged as she watched Barton do a "happy dance" when she was released at about 5:30 p.m..
According to Jennifer Ball, who is also a mother, Barton's demeanor when she was released was unsettling.
"I've only been in since 11 this morning so I just seen her been released, so I haven't had any contact with anyone else in the jail but I seen the way she walked out and couldn't believe it," Ball said.
Lonna Barton's next court appearance will be Sept. 9. Because Ebron is already being represented by a public defender, Barton can't be represented by the public defender's office, so she will appointed an attorney from the Regional Conflict Counsel Office, which steps in in cases like hers.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Chief Tom Hackney said last week he believes that Barton has been lying to police since the beginning of the investigation into her son's disappearance.
Hackney said the child neglect charge against her dates from July 23 -- the day before Lonzie disappeared -- when she found a bruise on the back of Lonzie's head that he suffered while Ebron was watching him. Ebron is the man who was last seen with the child.
Hackney said that after finding the bruise, Lonna Barton also found yellow fluid coming from Lonzie's ears, and she said the toddler kept vomiting.
"Despite being in an argument over a bruise and how it occurred without a satisfactory answer, she left Lonzie (pictured) and the 5-year-old in the care and custody and control of someone who may have done something to her child while she went to work at Wacko's," Hackney said.
Police said Barton also knew that Ebron sold and kept drugs in the home where Lonzie lived.
"Lonna (Barton) knew Ebron kept, used and sold narcotics. She knew he was a drug dealer," Hackney said.
Hackney said the truth began to come out during the investigation, and investigators discovered that Barton had been lying to police all along.
"Lonna is obviously a liar. When confronted with Ruben Ebron's name, she initially said she didn't know him. She gave repeated false statements to investigators and then later she admitted that she had made these false statements," Hackney said. "This is the most critical time of what we were beginning to do. We said all along that the house of cards that Ruben was building with that lie was not helping the investigation. It was leading us away from where we should have been looking. Lonna (Barton) was not assisting investigators either when she said she didn't know the man who she put in control and care of her children."
"She actually came down here on her own tonight (Tuesday), not aware that she was going to be arrested or that there was an arrest warrant out for her," Hackney said. "She's cooperative to this point, and what she believes and what she doesn't believe, I'm not going to try to put myself into her head. Frankly, I wouldn't want to be there."
Court observers told News4Jax that Barton's arrest could be a power play by police to get Barton and Ebron talking about what happened to Lonzie.
"There were probably several conversations with her to hopefully lead to where the boy was," said attorney Gene Nichols, who's not affiliated with the case. "I think the Sheriff's Office did everything it could to not have to prosecute her if she was going to be a benefit. It seems to be from these reports that she is no longer being a benefit to their investigation but is hampering their investigation."
Police continued to say that Lonna Barton and Ebron had multiple phone calls while he was in jail and detectives are looking into those conversations.
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