Evelyn Mae Boswell's Grandfather Says Family — Excluding Arrested Grandmother — Is in 'Anguish'
The statement asks for privacy, saying the family of Evelyn Mae Boswell is "still trying to process what has happened"
On the same day Tennessee authorities confirmed finding her remains, Evelyn Mae Boswell‘s grandfather issued a statement on the little girl’s death, saying his entire family — save for her grandmother, Angela Boswell — is dealing with “anguish and grief” over the news about the 15-month-old.
“It has been a very rough and trying time for everyone,” reads the statement, obtained by PEOPLE. “The immediate Boswell family (excluding Angela Jones Boswell) of Evelyn are in anguish and grief over their loss.”
The statement, written by Evelyn’s grandfather, Tommy Boswell, Sr., says the family is not ready to speak publicly about the tragedy, as “they are still trying to process what has happened.”
It adds: “They need more time to grieve, privately. The show of love and support does not go unnoticed. The family appreciates the prayers, memorials, and love that has been shown for Evelyn. In such a dark time, it shows there are loving people out there. All we want is justice for Evelyn and whoever is responsible to pay for the crime.”
Evelyn was last seen sometime in December, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. She was officially reported missing in February, several weeks after she vanished.
Authorities first learned that Evelyn was missing after hearing from her great-grandfather, who stated that he had not seen the toddler since the holidays.
Her remains were recovered March 6, with a positive identification being made on March 11. Investigators have not said how Evelyn died.
Evelyn’s mother, Megan “Maggie” Boswell, was arrested on February 25 and charged with one count of false reporting. She’s yet to plead to the charge, and authorities allege she’s told them conflicting stories about her daughter’s disappearance.
Evelyn’s grandmother, Angela Boswell, has been arrested on charges of possession of stolen property connected to the case, along with a man named William McCloud. Both were found in North Carolina in a 2007 BMW, which authorities had previously announced was a vehicle of interest in their investigation.
They’ve also not entered pleas. Court records do not indicate if any of the three defendants has an attorney who could speak on their behalf.
The statement by Evelyn’s grandfather also thanks local officials and community members for their support at this trying time.
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“The family would also like everyone to know there has not been any fundraisers or donations for funeral arrangements approved by the Boswell family,” reads the statement. “The Boswell family would like to reach out to Ethan Perry and family to come together for all arrangements for sweet Evelyn. There has been a lot of hate, threats, and lies thrown at members of the family not involved in the disappearance of Evelyn. The family would like to keep the ceremony private for family and close friends, due to that. Please try to show respect to those that are grieving and experiencing a heartbreaking loss.”
The statement further thanks investigators for “the endless hours and work being put in to bring Evelyn the justice she deserves.”