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UPDATE: Car, persons of interest in missing toddler case found

J. H. Osborne • Feb 21, 2020 at 9:58 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — The gray BMW sought in the hunt for a toddler missing from Sullivan County has been located in Wilkes County, North Carolina, along with the individuals authorities were seeking to speak with concerning 15-month-old Evelyn Mae Boswell’s whereabouts, according to updates Friday evening from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The toddler, however, is still missing and the investigation is ongoing.

If you see Evelyn Mae Boswell or have any information, call 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Earlier Friday, Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said the best bet police have for finding missing Sullivan County toddler Evelyn Boswell was locating the car and its occupants.

Cassidy described the occupants of the vehicle as persons of interest, not necessarily people who have the 15-month-old.

“We just need to talk to these people,” Cassidy said. “We think they have some additional information that could result in finding the child.”

Cassidy said it was Evelyn’s grandfather who made the call reporting her missing earlier this week. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services received the initial report and immediately referred it to the sheriff’s office on Tuesday, Cassidy said.

“Finding Evelyn is our main concern and our top priority at this time,” Cassidy said, as reporters pushed for more details about what the toddler’s parents or other family members have said about why it took two months for Evelyn to be reported missing.

“This case is unlike anything I’ve ever been involved in. We’ve got a child who has not been seen by the parents or certain family members in about two months. And it was just reported this week.”

Cassidy noted time is a factor in missing persons cases.

“We urge anyone with any information to come forward,” he said.

Cassidy identified Evelyn’s parents as Megan “Maggie” Boswell and Ethan Perry and said the father is serving in the military in Louisiana. The mother has full custody, Cassidy said, as Evelyn was born out of wedlock in Tennessee.

Asked who last saw Evelyn and when, Cassidy said he doesn’t believe the Dec. 26 date included late Wednesday in an Amber Alert issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is the correct date.

“I’m not going to go with what the mother stated because ... some of the conflicting stories are inaccurate,” Cassidy said. “A babysitter, this is the date I’m going on, last saw the child on Dec. 10 and 11.”

Cassidy said at this point no one is being ruled out as a suspect and no potential scenarios, including kidnapping or human trafficking, are off the table. 

Both parents have been cooperating with law enforcement, Cassidy said.

About Evelyn’s mother, Cassidy said, “She has been cooperating, but some of the information she has given us has been inaccurate.”

Cassidy noted the investigation had shown, for example, that video surveillance footage didn’t mesh with some of what Miss Boswell said.

“A lot of her information hasn’t been accurate,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy said he believes Evelyn is alive.

“I hope and pray she is alive and we can get her back.”

The TBI and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are assisting in the investigation.

TBI Public Information Office Leslie Earhart said more than 200 tips have been received so far. And Cassidy said all leads will continue to be checked out.

Cassidy announced he has personally put up $1,000 as a reward for information leading to Evelyn’s safe return, and he urged others — locally, regionally or across the nation — to pledge more to raise the reward amount.

According to a post on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page, as of Friday evening the reward had grown to $33,000 total: Cassidy - $1,000; Alan Levine - $5,000; Ballad Health - $25,000; Fuller Paving Group - $2,000.

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