Broward mom, accused of kidnapping girl to avoid vaccination, caught and jailed

August 4, 2015 in News by RBN Staff

A Sunrise woman who disappeared with her 2-year-old daughter in May 2014, reportedly to avoid having the girl vaccinated, was caught Monday and arrested on a parental kidnapping charge, authorities said Monday afternoon.

Megan Elizabeth Everett, 23, was taken into custody without incident in Palatka and her daughter, Lilly, now 3, was found safe. The arrest was made by Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies and the FBI.

Source: Sun Sentinel

Authorities received a tip that led them to Everett, the FBI said. The case was featured on CNN’s “The Hunt with John Walsh” this weekend.

Lilly’s father, Robert Baumann, 27, of Davie, said he got the call he’d been waiting for around lunchtime.


“It’s so great, I’m so relieved,” Baumann said in a phone interview with the Sun Sentinel as he drove to Palatka to be reunited with his daughter. “It just kind of stunned me; I felt like I was running around with my head chopped off.”

Baumann said investigators told him the tip came from a landlord who was renting out a property to Everett, who may have been using a false name.

Lilly was being called “Mary” during the time she lived in the Palatka area, investigators told Baumann.

“[Everett] told the guy she wanted to live in the country and wanted to home-school the kid,” Baumann said.

He said he was at work when investigators called him and told him they had what appeared to be pretty solid information about Everett’s whereabouts.

“About 20 minutes later, they called back and they said Megan was in handcuffs and Lilly was safe,” Baumann said.

Everett was wanted for more than a year for the alleged parental kidnapping.

She is being held in Putnam County and will be extradited to Broward County to face the charge, investigators said. Lilly was placed in protective custody for a short time.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m. Monday, Baumann said he and Lilly had been reunited and were on their way home from Palatka.

“I am so happy to finally have my daughter back safe,” he said in an email. “We have a long drive home.”

The Sunrise Police Department, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI continue their investigation.

Everett was last seen in Broward County on May 6, 2014, when Baumann dropped off their daughter, Lilly, in compliance with their shared custody agreement. Lilly was to be returned to Baumann a week later, but Everett never showed up. Baumann gave her a few days and then reported the child missing May 15, 2014.

The two had been involved in a custody dispute over their daughter, but it appeared to have been figured out a few weeks earlier when a Broward Circuit judge gave each parent 50 percent custody. Lilly was to spend one week with her mom, followed by one week with her dad, with the exchange taking place on Tuesdays.

Baumann, an air-conditioning repairman, and Everett, a bookkeeper, were never married and Everett was in a new relationship with her boyfriend, Carlos Lesters, authorities said.

Lilly’s parents disagreed about several issues, including whether Lilly should attend preschool. Everett did not want her daughter to be vaccinated, and Baumann did, according to family members and public records.

In a 2014 interview with the Sun Sentinel, Baumann said Everett didn’t want their daughter to learn about black history and “just wanted her to learn about the Confederacy.”

Lesters was described in court records as a Confederate flag-waving gun enthusiast and Baumann said he was uncomfortable with his toddler daughter being around guns and ammunition.

Lesters told federal law enforcement in May 2014 that Everett and Lilly were gone and “not coming back,” court records show.

“Everett … knew she would have to live her life as a fugitive,” FBI agents wrote in the criminal complaint. “However, in her mind, the time that she spent with her daughter ‘free’ of Baumann would be ‘worth it,’ regardless of how brief the time was.”

Everett left a note for her boyfriend, Lesters, vaguely explaining her actions.

“You are a great dad,” she wrote to Lesters, and underlined the word “great.” “If I let them take her and vaccinate her and brainwash her, I wouldn’t be doing what’s right. I cannot let a judge tell me how my daughter should be raised. We will miss you. But I had to leave.”





Baumann had planned to have his daughter receive vaccinations the next time he had custody and planned to enroll her in preschool, according to court records.

Megan Everett’s mother, Pam Everett, of Davie, told the Sun Sentinel she was very relieved her granddaughter was found safe and that her daughter was arrested. Authorities told her Monday that her daughter “still had an attitude” and was refusing to speak with them until she had hired a lawyer, she said.

Everett and Lilly were living under assumed names in an RV on land they rented in Palatka, about 45 miles east of Gainesville, the grandmother said. She was told they had previously spent time in the Titusville area and one witness told police they thought they had previously left the state.

“I’ll only feel completely whole when I have my granddaughter back in my arms,” Pam Everett said. “It is a relief, but I have mixed feelings. She [Megan] is still my daughter.”

Everett said her daughter had been studying psychology at Florida Atlantic University and spoke three languages but then “started acting erratically.”

“She had originally said that however much time she had with her daughter would be worth it,” Pam Everett said.

Everett consistently said she thought her granddaughter would be better off with her father, Baumann.

“I know her dad will take good care of her and we will do everything we can to help him,” she said.

The last time she saw her granddaughter, Lilly loved her Dora the Explorer toys and blanket. Pam Everett said those treasured items, along with lots of photo albums of her, are waiting for Lilly at her grandma’s home.

“I don’t even know if she still likes Dora,” Everett said. “But her things are still here. Children bounce back and they handle things better than adults sometimes, so I hope she is going be just fine.”

Staff Writer Rafael Olmeda and Emily Miller contributed to this report., 954-356-4533 or Twitter @SentinelPaula.