The desperate search for a missing 15-month-old girl has been hampered by conflicting accounts from the toddler's mother and the long length of time since the baby's disappearance, authorities said Friday.
"We're talking about two months," Sullivan County Sheriff's Office Capt. Andy Seabolt said at a press conference. "And it's hindering our investigation."
Also obstructing the search are "conflicting" statements from the 21-year-old mother, Megan "Maggie" Boswell, he said. "I'm not going to go into what the mother said," Seabolt said. "Some of the information we're getting is conflicting or inaccurate."
Investigators also announced Friday they are looking for people traveling in a gray 2007 BMW with Tennessee plates 3M9-6W9. The occupants may have information about the baby's whereabouts, Seabolt said. He declined to say who owned the car, and added there were reports it was last seen in Virginia.
Evelyn Mae Boswell was reported missing earlier this week by her grandfather, who contact child welfare authorities. On Wednesday, an Amber Alert was issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
State officials said Thursday that the child hadn't been seen since Dec. 26. But at Friday's news conference, Seabolt said a more accurate date may be Dec. 11, based on the statements of a babysitter who told investigators she cared for the toddler on Dec. 10 and Dec. 11.
Evelyn's father, a U.S. Army soldier stationed in Louisiana, does not share custody of the toddler because state law grants full custody of children born outside of marriage to the mother, Seabolt said. Ethan Perry, the dad, is cooperating with investigators, he said.
Sheriff's deputies, state investigators and FBI agents are involved in the case, Seabolt said. "We're following every lead," he said, noting that hundreds of tips have poured in since the Amber Alert went up.
"This has been a very difficult three days," Seabolt said. "Finding Evelyn is our main concern and our top priority." The sheriff's captain said he personally donated $1,000 to a reward seeking information that would bring "sweet Evelyn home."
Pressed about what the mother had told authorities, Seabolt said, "Her stories aren't leading up to things we went out and checked on. Like surveillance videos and eyewitness statements. The only information that I believe could help us is finding this gray BMW.
"We just gotta hope and pray that little Evelyn is OK," he continued.
Anyone who has information about Evelyn’s whereabouts is asked to call the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office at 423-279-7330 or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.