BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. — A Sullivan County grand jury on Wednesday returned a presentment charging Megan Boswell in the death of her daughter, 15-month-old Evelyn Mae Boswell.
Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus said at a Wednesday evening news conference that Megan Boswell now faces 19 charges in her daughter’s death, including felony murder and aggravated child abuse.
The presentment – served up by the grand jury earlier Wednesday – does not offer details on how Evelyn died or an exact date of her death. It lists the date of death as “on or about December 2019.”
Megan Boswell, 18, is accused of killing her daughter under two separate legal theories – that the child’s death resulted from an act of child abuse or that the child’s death resulted from an act of child neglect, a Knox News review of the presentment shows.
She’s also accused in the presentment of a dozen counts of lying to various law enforcement agents, including detectives with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department and agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the FBI.
The presentment alleges Megan Boswell abused her daughter’s corpse – a charge typically leveled when a body is moved and hidden in some manner. Evelyn Boswell’s body was discovered in March hidden in a shed owned by Megan Boswell’s father, Tommy Boswell Sr., at the Boswell family compound off Muddy Creek Road.
Megan Boswell also is accused in the presentment of failing to report her daughter’s death to authorities. Staubus said the teenager, who is already jailed on a prior grand jury indictment for allegedly lying about her daughter’s disappearance, will be arraigned on the presentment Aug. 28.
‘She didn’t deserve this’
Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said at Wednesday’s news conference Evelyn’s disappearance and death sparked outrage and upset not only in the Blountville community but across the country.
“We received food, cards, prayers and encouraging words, and we appreciate it more than you know,” Cassidy said. “We are determined to ensure justice is served for baby Evelyn.”
Cassidy said the months-long investigation that led to Wednesday’s presentment was hindered by lies and “false information” from both Megan Boswell and various unidentified community members.
“Other individuals were eliminated as suspects, and Megan Boswell became the sole suspect in the case,” Cassidy said.
TBI Director David Rausch told the more than a dozen agents, deputies and detectives gathered at the Wednesday news briefing he knew their work “wasn’t easy, and it had to be heartbreaking.”
“She didn’t deserve this,” Rausch said of Evelyn. “No child does. … Child abuse must stop, and we must do all in our power to make that happen.”
Family ties, chaos
A Knox News investigation has revealed Evelyn was born in November 2018 to two teenage parents – Megan Boswell, then 17, and Ethan Perry, then 19. Perry had joined the military a year earlier after graduating high school.
Megan Boswell was living with her father, Tommy Boswell Sr., 50, and two younger siblings at the Boswell family compound off Muddy Creek Road in Blountville at the time of the birth. Megan Boswell’s mother, Angela Boswell, 42, was in jail on drug-related charges when Evelyn was born.
Tommy Boswell Sr., who operates a paving company from the family compound, reported Evelyn missing in February. He told authorities he had not seen the child since early December 2019. He has never publicly explained why he delayed in reporting his granddaughter missing but denies any role in her disappearance and death.
The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office immediately launched a probe of the disappearance and interviewed both Megan Boswell and Perry, who then was stationed in Louisiana. Perry denied any knowledge of the disappearance or his daughter’s whereabouts.
Megan Boswell, on the other hand, made a slew of claims that authorities now say were false, including blaming Perry for the child’s disappearance and insisting her mother had taken the child to a Virginia campground. She was jailed, accused of filing false reports.
Angela Boswell, meanwhile, abruptly left Sullivan County when news of her granddaughter’s disappearance surfaced and headed to North Carolina with then-boyfriend William McCloud. Both were arrested – accused of failing to pay for the car in which they were traveling – but later told Sullivan County authorities they knew nothing about Evelyn’s whereabouts.
On March 11 – nearly three weeks after Evelyn was reported missing – law enforcement agents showed up at the Boswell family compound armed with a search warrant and soon announced they’d found Evelyn’s remains inside Tommy Boswell Sr.’s shed.