Charleston, South Carolina --- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Thomas Lawton Evans, Jr., 38, of Boiling Springs, South Carolina, was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in federal prison after pleading guilty to Kidnapping Involving a Person Under the Age of 18, Transportation of a Minor to Engage in Sexual Activity, and Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Person under the age of Twelve. United States District Court Judge David Norton of Charleston imposed the sentence.
Facts presented to the court established that Evans followed a family into their Johns Island, South Carolina, home on February 13, 2018, then brutally assaulted and injured an adult resident. As she was assaulted, the resident told her four-year-old daughter to run, and the four-year-old hid in an upstairs bedroom, where she attempted to also hide her two-year-old brother. Evans went upstairs and kidnapped the four-year-old, placing her in the trunk of his car. He then drove with the girl through South Carolina and Georgia and into Alabama, where he was located by the Riverside Police Department. Riverside Police Department Chief Rick Oliver was able to separate the young girl from Evans before Evans sped away in a car. Evans was arrested later the same day in Jackson, Mississippi, after a police pursuit.
“Thomas Evans’ attack on this family was a random, evil act,” said U.S. Attorney Lydon. “But it would be the last random act in the story. For there would be nothing random about the excellent work of the FBI and Charleston Police Department that followed; nothing random about the police chief in Riverside, Alabama, who was determined to help; nothing random about a justice system that affords a defendant due process; and nothing random about prosecutors who hold individuals accountable for their violence. Everyone came together with a sense of purpose to make sure this story ended well. Our office will forever be amazed by this family’s strength and resilience.”
The convictions are the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Charleston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Nathan Williams and Nick Bianchi of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.