As Evelyn Boswell's 2nd Birthday Nears, a Look Back at Her Tragic Death and Where Case Against Her Mom Stands
Evelyn Boswell was 15 months old when she vanished nearly a year ago. Her mother, 19-year-old Megan Boswell, has been charged with her murder.
On Nov. 21, had she lived, Evelyn Boswell would turn 2.
Instead, she is buried in a Tennessee grave, mourned by thousands who never met her but rabidly followed every detail of her tragic case. It began with an Amber Alert issued in February after Evelyn's grandfather called children's services authorities to report his family hadn't seen the toddler in months.
"I don't know what happened, but I'm the one who called DCS and got this started," Tommy Boswell Sr. told a local station at the time. "I ain't slept nights. I've cried like a baby. I just want my grandbaby to come home."
Evelyn's teenage mother, Megan Boswell, now stands charged with two counts of felony murder. She also faces one count each of aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect, tampering with evidence, abuse of a corpse and failure to report a death under suspicious, unusual or unnatural circumstances, as well as 12 counts of making false reports to investigators.
A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 3, in which prosecutors are expected to declare whether they will seek the death penalty and the judge is expected to rule on a change of venue motion filed by Boswell's attorney, who said intense publicity surrounding the case makes it impossible to find impartial jurors in rural Sullivan County.
Boswell, 19, is being held in lieu of $1 million bail. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.
Little Evelyn's disappearance engrossed people around the country. Why did it take two months to report her missing? When was she last seen? Where was she? And what on earth had happened to her?
From the beginning, authorities said they were hobbled by ever-changing statements from Megan, who is now 19.
In February, after announcing the Amber Alert, Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy told reporters the case was full of "conflicting information and inaccuracies," and that he believed Evelyn was actually last seen Dec. 10 or 11 by a babysitter.
“This is unlike anything I have ever seen,” he said.
Megan Boswell first told investigators that Evelyn was with her father, who was on active duty at a Louisiana Army base, authorities said. The father, who has not been charged in the case, issued a statement saying that wasn't true.
The mother, in a February interview with a local television station, said she knew who had Evelyn and didn’t want to contact police because she thought the person would disappear with her daughter.
“The reason I didn’t report it or anything was I knew the person who had her, and I didn’t want them to run away with her,” Boswell said. ”I’m just kinda worried, you know, about where they are at. What they’re doing with her at this point in time.”
Megan later said her mother, Angela Boswell, had taken the child on a camping trip, according to the criminal complaint filed against Megan. Investigators searched a Virginia campground, but found no evidence of Evelyn, they said. Angela Boswell has not been charged in Evelyn's disappearance or death.
Meanwhile, hundreds of tips poured into a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation hotline. None led anywhere. The state agency was so overrun by calls from people around the country who thought they had seen the missing child that extra operators had to be hired.
On Feb. 25, Megan was arrested on charges of giving false information to investigators.
"Every time we talk to her, her story changes. I'm serious when I say that every single time," Sullivan County Sheriff's Capt. Andrew Seabolt said at a press conference the next day.
Then came March, and the outcome no one wanted.
Evelyn's remains, as well as diapers and toys, were found under a shed on her grandfather's property.
An autopsy was conducted, and its findings were sealed.
“I thought it was necessary because of the publicity the case has engendered, and because it’s still under investigation, I thought it would maintain the integrity of the investigation," said Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus.
Days after the baby was found, her family issued a statement pleading for privacy.
“The immediate Boswell family ... of Evelyn are in anguish and grief over their loss. It has been a very rough and trying time for everyone. At this time they do not want to speak publicly in regards to the tragedy. They are still trying to process what has happened. They ask for media and the public to respect their wishes. They need more time to grieve, privately.”
In August, a Sullivan County grand jury indicted Megan Boswell on 19 counts, including murder. Her bail was upped to $1 million.
To this day, authorities have released no information on how or why little Evelyn was killed.
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