Editorial: Our hearts still break for Evelyn Mae Boswell

Editorial Board • Jun 5, 2020 at 11:45 PM

Seldom has a story touched the hearts of so many as that of Evelyn Mae Boswell, a beautiful 15-month-old who disappeared in late December and whose remains were found March 6 on a relative’s property in Blountville.

The baby was reported missing by her grandfather on Feb. 18. She reportedly had not been seen since late December and her mother, 18-year-old Megan Boswell, never reported her missing. When asked about her daughter’s disappearance she gave conflicting statements containing false information, said Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy. “Every time we talk to her, her story changes,” Cassidy said at the time. “I am serious when I say that. Every time.”

Boswell was arrested Feb. 25, charged with providing false reports. A Sullivan County grand jury indicted her on 11 counts of false reporting, and she is being held in the county jail on a $150,000 bond. Her next court appearance is July 31.

The case involves many twists, including Megan Boswell’s mother, Angela Boswell, 42, who with William McCloud, 33, was arrested Feb. 21 in Wilkes County, North Carolina, on fugitive warrants regarding a car sale that evolved into theft of a motor vehicle. The sheriff’s department said Megan Boswell was purchasing the car for her mother but never completed the sale and still took the car. Angela Boswell and McCloud were subsequently released.

The investigation continues with autopsy results sealed, according to Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus. “I thought it was necessary because of the publicity the case has engendered, and because it’s still under investigation,” Staubus said.

Meanwhile, Evelyn’s Law is working its way through the state legislature, sponsored by Rep. Timothy Hill of Blountville and Reps. John Crawford and Bud Hulsey of Kingsport. It would require a report of a missing child to law enforcement or the appropriate authority within 48 hours of a child’s disappearance.

Under the proposal, failure to report while demonstrating reckless disregard for the safety of a child would be a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500 or both.

“Our community hurts as we continue to mourn Evelyn Boswell, and this legislation adds a tool for law enforcement across Tennessee as they investigate cases involving missing children,” said Rep. Hill. “I appreciate my colleagues for supporting this legislation, and I know it will close the gap in our current law so we can bring those with disregard for the children of Tennessee to swift justice.”

“We remain in disbelief that the well-being of this child was jeopardized by those entrusted with her care,” said Rep. Hulsey. “This proposal will better assist our law enforcement communities across this state so similar situations are hopefully avoidable in the future.”

Wherever this case eventually leads, little blue-eyed Evelyn Boswell will not be forgotten, especially if “Evelyn’s Law” is placed on the books.

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