Florida mother accused of kidnapping girl to avoid vaccination is caught and jailed

Fort Lauderdale, Florida: A Florida woman who disappeared with her then two-year-old daughter in May 2014, reportedly to avoid having the girl vaccinated, was arrested on Monday on a federal parental kidnapping charge, authorities said.

Megan Elizabeth Everett, 23, was taken into custody without incident and her daughter, Lilly Abigail Baumann, 3, was found safe.

The arrest was made by Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies and the FBI.

The case was featured on CNN’s documentary-style investigation series The Hunt with John Walsh on Sunday.

Authorities said that, after the show aired, a viewer recognised Ms Everett and Lilly as tenants of a rental property in Palatka, Florida, about 72 kilometres east of Gainesville.

Lilly’s father, Robert Baumann, 27, said he got the call he had been waiting for about lunchtime on Monday.

“It’s so great, I’m so relieved,” Mr Baumann said in a phone interview with the Sun Sentinel as he drove to be reunited with his daughter.

“It just kind of stunned me; I felt like I was running around with my head chopped off.”

Mr Baumann said investigators told him the tip-off came from a landlord who was renting the property to Ms 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 Mr Baumann.

“[Ms Everett] told the guy she wanted to live in the country and wanted to homeschool the kid,” Mr 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 Ms Everett’s whereabouts.

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

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DeeDee Barker

Writer at The Pluto Daily
Writer/Design/Editor. Born in New Orleans but raised in Philly. DeeDee has been with the Pluto Daily since June 2014.