SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. — The Sullivan County community is mourning over the loss of 15-month-old Evelyn Boswell. This comes after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation discovered what seemed to be the young girl's remains on Friday night.
Almost immediately after the announcement, neighbors and community members who have followed the case for over two weeks created memorials in Boswell's honor.
A tree on Muddy Creek Road in Blountville right across the street from where the remains were found, served as a space for people to pay their respects and leave gifts for the young girl behind.
Stuffed animals, balloons, flowers and signs grew immensely over the day on Saturday. The pink and purple mountain of gifts almost always had a crowd of people surrounding it.
Lynda Hooker said as soon as she heard the news Friday night, she knew she wanted to start the memorial to honor baby Evelyn.
"When everybody got the word last night it was like a part of us got lost with her," Hooker nodded. "This should be about this little beautiful angel that shouldn't have had to go through what she went through."
For over two weeks, the rest of the world joined hands with Sullivan County during the search for the missing 15-month-old, uniting in the face of tragedy.
Seth Loven from North Carolina felt a special connection to the case, being a child abuse survivor.
"It's really sad," Loven explained. "It's a tragic story. You know it's heartbreaking, but at the same time it's sad that it took this for a community to come together because we should stand up now."
While those who live just down the road, like Lindsey Nieuwland from Kingsport, still can't believe what they've seen.
"This is not something that happens here," Nieuwland urged. "This is not the kind of people we are. This is not the community that we live in. So I think it really affected people because it was just too close to home."
Another memorial for the little girl just outside the sheriff's department is another reminder of a life lost too soon.
"Our hope and prayer is that justice is swift for Evelyn," Nieuwland said.
While a chapter is closed on the search, the community won't give up on the young stranger they've grown to love.
"It's sad but it's also reassuring that that is the heartbeat of Sullivan County—not tragedy," Nieuwland assured.
There's still a lot of questions to be answered with the Evelyn Boswell case and it may take some time before we see justice for Evelyn, but the community stays hopeful.