BLOUNTVILLE — The search for 15-month-old Evelyn Mae Boswell ended in tragedy Friday with the discovery of what authorities believe to be the child’s remains on property owned by her mother’s family in Blountville.
The discovery apparently ends a 17-day search for the missing child, but it begins a new phase of the investigation to find out how Evelyn died, why she died, and who put her remains in a yard barn at a residence in the 500 block of Muddy Creek Road.
“This is certainly not the update we had hoped to provide this evening,” TBI spokesperson Leslie Earhart said during a press conference Friday night.
Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy stated during the media briefing that the remains will be sent for an autopsy and a positive identification.
“This evening we received information that led TBI agents and Sullivan County detectives to a property belonging to a family member of Evelyn’s mother in the 500th block of Muddy Creek Road in Blountville,” Cassidy said. “During the search, investigators discovered human remains believed to be those of a 15-month-old girl.”
Cassidy added, “At this time, the investigation is in the very early stages. There’s a lot of work left to be done, and right now this is the extent of what we can provide.”
Evelyn was reported missing to authorities on Tuesday, Feb. 18, and the following day an AMBER Alert was issued for her by the TBI. Police said she may have been missing as far back as Dec. 26.
Evelyn’s grandmother Angela Boswell, 42, Kingsport, and the grandmother’s boyfriend, William McCloud, 33, Elizabethton, were identified the following Friday as persons of interest and were arrested in North Carolina, accused of stealing a 2007 BMW that Evelyn’s mother, Megan Boswell, 18, was in the process of purchasing.
Angela Boswell and McCloud were subsequently returned to Sullivan County charged with theft over $2,500, and both are currently free on bond.
Meanwhile, Megan Boswell was arrested by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, Feb. 25 and charged with felony filing a false report.
Cassidy said Megan Boswell had given investigators multiple misleading statements over the course of their search for Evelyn and had hindered the investigation.
Megan Boswell remains held in the Sullivan County Jail on $25,000 bond.
During Friday’s press conference Cassidy thanked the community for its outpouring of love and support and prayers for the past 17 days “when sweet Evelyn was first reported missing.”
“I want to thank the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and our detectives and officers for their persistent dedication and hard work in trying to locate Evelyn,” the sheriff said.
“This is a very active investigation. We understand that you have a lot of questions. But please understand, in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation there’s not a lot that we can release at this time,” Earhart added.
District Attorney General Barry Staubus said Friday that the investigation is far from over, but after its conclusion he will evaluate the case and determine what to do next.
“Based on what has happened tonight, there’s a lot of work to be done forensically, and just old-fashioned investigative work.”