And this week, Boswell told WJHL-TV that the babysitter, her mom, had taken 15-month-old Evelyn to a campground in another state. But authorities said they found nothing there.
The shifting statements caught up with the young Blountville, Tenn., woman Tuesday, authorities say, as she was jailed on a charge of false reporting and accused of hampering investigators scrambling to find a child who was not reported missing until last week.
“Every time we talk to her, her story changes,” Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said of Boswell at a news conference Wednesday. “I’m serious when I say that — every single time.”
A week after issuing a statewide Amber Alert, police looking for Evelyn Mae Boswell said they remain frustrated by a deeply confusing case. Precisely when Evelyn was last seen is unclear, they said, amid conflicting accounts.
Whatever the exact date, police know their efforts are coming late.
“Two months before she’s even reported missing?” Cassidy said Wednesday. “It puts us behind.”
Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus told The Washington Post that he thought that lawyers had yet to be appointed for Megan Boswell and her mother, who has also been questioned. Neither of the women could be reached for comment.
Evelyn was designated as missing Feb. 18 after a referral from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, authorities said. The toddler was last seen in a pink tracksuit, pink shoes and pink bow. Home videos shared by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation show the child taking wobbling steps and grasping at the camera.
Police have been working “nonstop” to find her, following up on more than 570 tips, the sheriff said.
Cassidy confirmed that a Wednesday police search of a pond in Wilkes County, N.C., was related to the investigation in Tennessee. The Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office, which did not respond to questions from The Post on Wednesday, told WSOC-TV that the search was “inconclusive.” Sullivan County sheriff’s spokesman Andy Seabolt said his office did not receive the information that sparked that search.
Wilkes County is where Evelyn’s grandmother, 42-year-old Angela Boswell, was arrested after authorities found her and her boyfriend with an allegedly stolen car, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. Boswell was extradited back to Tennessee on Monday, according to the news outlet, and her bond for an unrelated case was revoked, leaving her in jail — where she was soon joined by her daughter.
Megan Boswell’s arrest added yet another layer to what the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Josh DeVine called “a very complicated case.”
“We know you have a lot questions about this case,” he said in a video posted to the bureau’s social media. “So do we.”
Authorities’ focus is on finding Evelyn, DeVine said. The sheriff, too, emphasized that he is still praying for a happy ending.
“We’re going to continue to work just like she is alive,” Cassidy said.
Megan Boswell is being held on $25,000 bond, according to law enforcement. WJHL reported that she appeared by video for her Wednesday arraignment and has another court date set for Monday.
An affidavit for one count of false reporting does not say what, exactly, gave rise to the charge. But it recounts her claims that Evelyn was with the child’s father. Megan Boswell also told law enforcement Feb. 18 that she was meeting the father the following day, even though he was stationed in Louisiana, the court document states.
As Evelyn’s disappearance became a major news story — one local TV station is advertising a tip line in its Facebook cover photo beneath pictures of the child — Megan told reporters that she regretted not going to authorities about her daughter “the first day” she went missing. But she brushed off other suggestions of wrongdoing.
“You talk to anybody who actually knows me, you know, they know that I would never hurt Evelyn or do anything like that,” she said in a video posted by WCYB.
“We all just want the baby back,” she added.
She also said she had volunteered for a polygraph test but was turned away because she is pregnant.
But Cassidy said Wednesday that Boswell never discussed a polygraph test with authorities.
As for the claim of pregnancy, he said, “I’ll leave that to her.”