A Town Unites to Speak For Vanished Toddler Evelyn Boswell
They take care of their own.
In the rural enclaves of Tennessee's Sullivan County, communities are lifting their voices for 15-month-old Evelyn Boswell, a chubby-cheeked, blue-eyed baby who hasn't been seen or heard from for more than two months and was only reported missing two weeks ago.
"I've never met here, but she is loved," resident Lindsey Carter Reimer told InsideEdition.com. "She's a baby girl, and I'm a mom, and I just can't imagine losing my child."
Reimer posted on social media that folks should put out pink and purple porch bulbs to light the way home for a little girl whose mother and grandmother have been arrested in connection with her disappearance, while no one in her family appears to know — or will say —what happened to her.
"I can't believe it took so long for someone to report her missing," Reimer said. "So I said, 'What the heck, let's just put out some lights.'"
People have sent photos of their colorful porch lights. Lindsey Carter Reimer/Facebook
She said she decided on pink and purple because the colors are very popular with little girls. She has received Facebook messages and photos from people who've put out their own colorful porch lights, some from as far away as West Virginia.
"I'm so happy about it," she said. "I'm just so excited about it. Her original post asking people to light Evelyn's journey home has been shared more than 100 times. She prays the child is still alive and that she will be found safe and sound.
But as time continues to pass, those hopes are hard to hold.
If the worst outcome should prove true, Reimer said, the purple and pink illuminations will be spiritual beacons.
Besides the lights, townspeople have also purchased food and supplies for law enforcement officers — which includes Sullivan County Sheriff's deputies, state investigators and FBI agents — and deliver them daily to the women and men steadfastly trying to solve a confounding case with very few leads and no crime scene.
The efforts show "our respect for law enforcement. They're doing everything they can. We understand that they can't search" because they don't know where Evelyn disappeared, she said.
Residents took it upon themselves to hold up this missing child. "There are no fliers or signs up," Reimer said.
"The community seems to care more than the family," she said. "This is about Evelyn. She's so sweet, from her pictures."
The case, she said, is "probably the biggest thing that's ever happened in our area."
Thousands have joined social media groups, flooding sites with theories, speculations and Tarot card readings about what happened to the toddler. In recent days, some of the messages have devolved in bitter bickering between posters. "You are definitely crazy and have (too) much time on your hands," one person wrote Thursday in response to a photograph of Evelyn that had been retouched.
So many calls have poured into a state hotline that an official last week asked the public to please keep their theories to themselves because they were harming search efforts.
Also hampering the investigation, said Sheriff Jeff Cassidy, is misinformation supplied by Evelyn's mother, 18-year-old Megan "Maggie" Boswell, who was arrested last week on charges of making false statements to police. She remains in jail and has not entered a plea.
Megan initially told investigators the baby was with her biological father, Ethan Perry, an active duty Army soldier stationed in Louisiana, according to court documents. That proved untrue, Cassidy said.
Megan's mother, 42-year-old Angela Boswell, was arrested Feb. 21 with her boyfriend, William McCloud, 33, in North Carolina on fugitive warrants, according to the Wilkes County Sheriff's Office. The couple was in possession of a car that had been reported stolen. McCloud told a judge that Megan had given them the car and that he did not know there was any problem with the vehicle.
Angela Boswell and McCloud were returned to Tennessee. They have posted bail and have been released, with orders to return to court March 24. They have not entered pleas.
Reimer said she worries that social media bickering about the case makes their rural area look small-minded and spiteful.
"People are fighting. It's ridiculous," she said. "It makes our community look bad. This is a nice place to live. There's really good people here."
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