Search for missing Sullivan toddler continues as authorities search Boone Lake property

J. H. Osborne • Feb 29, 2020 at 8:30 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Law enforcement had nothing new to release Friday in the search for missing toddler Evelyn Mae Boswell, other than the investigation continues around the clock and all tips and leads are being pursued.

The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation all are involved in the search for Evelyn, 15 months, and stress their priority is finding her.

If you want to help find Evelyn — described as 2 feet tall, 28 pounds, and having blonde hair and blue eyes — law enforcement has said the best thing you can do is share her photos and information included in an AMBER Alert. The toddler was reported missing last week, but she hasn’t been seen by any “credible” sources police have spoken with since Dec. 11.

All tips should be directed to the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

A search warrant was executed on a property near Boone Lake.

“Investigators have checked multiple locations for information over the past few days, and I’m sure that there will be more before this is over,” SCSO Capt. Andy Seabolt said.

That search and live media coverage of it preceded an email from the TBI to media outlets following the case.

That message read in part:

“Exercise caution in regards to scanner traffic you may hear in your newsroom, posts you may see on social media, and messages you receive from individuals who claim they saw Evelyn. On several occasions, there has been news coverage of possible sightings and searches before law enforcement has had the opportunity to determine if the tips are legitimate. Broadcasting or sharing this information, without providing context, has the potential to confuse the public and hinder our search efforts. Over the last week and a half, we’ve received more than 700 tips. Those tips have led us to review surveillance video at a variety of businesses, check a number of specific locations, and follow up with dozens of individuals who thought they spotted Evelyn. When we receive a tip that involves another state, we ask authorities in the appropriate jurisdiction for assistance in following up on the information. Please remember that following up on tips as they come in is the normal course of action in these types of cases. It should not be considered confirmation of a sighting or as a definitive connection to the case.”

The TBI message also thanked media outlets:

“With every story, you’re helping us to share information with the public, which generates valuable tips and brings us closer to determining what happened to Evelyn. We certainly understand your desire for additional information in this case. We’ve said from the beginning that this is a complicated investigation that has taken a number of turns. We would ask you and your newsroom to help us communicate as clearly as possible with the public. As always, during an AMBER Alert, if we determine there is a credible sighting, we will make the public aware.”

A reward fund, initially launched by Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy with $1,000 of his own money, has grown to more than $60,000 for information leading to Evelyn’s safe return.

Donors and pledged amounts, as of Monday afternoon, according to the SCSO’s Facebook page, include: Cassidy, $1,000; Storage Source One Self-Storage, $2,500; Alan Levine, $5,000; Ballad Health, $25,000; Fuller Paving Group, $2,000; Indian Springs Armory, $500; Tommy Boswell Sr., $10,000; Tommy Boswell Jr., $10,000; Krazy Gringo’s, $450; Belcher Grady DBA BG Paving, $2,000; Express Tanning, $500; Joan Roberts Jackson, $500; and Sullivan County EMS, $1,000.

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