Jordan Gregory Ernsberger, 30, was arrested on Tuesday just after being released from the Madison County Jail, and he’ll now face murder charges in Suwannee County.
Law enforcement is charging Ernsberger, of Wellborn, for the murder of 59-year-old Deborah Lanham, his girlfriend, in December 2022. While physical evidence pointed investigators to Ernsberger, an arrest for the crime had to wait months until he finished serving time for an unrelated incident.
Deputies with the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) arrived at Lanham’s home in Wellborn on Dec. 14, 2022, in response to a missing person call. Friends and family said they hadn’t heard from her for days.
The next day, deputies continued the search by trying to locate Ernsberger, according to an SCSO report. They found his vehicle abandoned in the woods near 181st Court in Live Oak and also discovered an active felony warrant for Ernsberger for a violation of probation.
The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office issued a BOLO alert for Ernsberger, and Madison County law enforcement found and arrested him. According to an SCSO report, Ernsberger refused to cooperate with the investigation to find Lanham and requested legal counsel.
However, law enforcement investigation and analytical work uncovered that Lanham had been murdered and found a crime scene. Further investigation also found Lanham’s body in a wooded area of Hamilton County.
The SCSO report says that physical evidence further pointed to Ernsberger as the culprit, but law enforcement had to wait for an arrest until after he finished serving time for unrelated charges.
Ernsberger finished those charges on Tuesday, allowing for his arrest for the murder and future trial.