Felon accused of kidnapping little girl and beating her mother close to death gets slapped with federal sexual abuse of a child charge: Prosecutor

A convicted felon already facing charges for kidnapping a 4-year-old from her South Carolina home is now facing sex-related charges in connection with the case, according to a federal indictment.

Thomas Lawton Evans Jr., 37, is facing numerous felony charges in relation to abducting a a little girl from her Johns Island home on February 13, after beating her mother, according to a U.S. District Court District of South Carolina criminal docket. Evans, who was initially held on kidnapping charges, now faces charges of:

  • Aggravated sexual abuse of a person under the age of 12 (federal charge)
  • Transportation of a minor to engage in sexual activity (federal charge)
  • Attempted murder (state charge)
  • Armed robbery (state charge)
  • Burglary (state charge)
  • Possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a violent crime (state charge)

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Evans allegedly beat little girl’s mother so severely that numerous bones were broken in her face. An arrest affidavit indicates that the attacker approached the child’s mother from behind with the knife after he arrived home from dropping off her two oldest children at school.

“The attacker pushed her to the ground. The attacker then physically assaulted (the woman) causing facial fractures and brain bleeding, among other significant injuries,” FBI Special Agent Matt Rhue wrote in an affidavit filed at Charleston’s U.S. District Court.

Thomas Lawton Evans Jr. Indictment by Leigh Egan on Scribd

When school officials contacted authorities and said that Brittany Todd never showed up to pick her children up for school in the afternoon, deputies went to the residence, where they found the badly beaten woman, who at the time could only give them limited information due to her physical state. She told police that she instructed Heidi to run and hide when the suspect started attacking her, but the attacker apparently took the girl and fled.

Riverside, Alabama, Police Chief Rick Oliver found the pair in the car, parked deep into the woods, around 20 miles east of Birmingham, after members of a railroad crew noticed the care and called the police.

“He was way out away from where he needed to be,” Oliver said. “There was no reason for him to be that far off in the wooded area.”

As Oliver walked up to the vehicle, the sleeping suspect woke up and appeared nervous. When asked to get out of the car with the girl, Evans complied. Oliver informed him that he needed to come to the station with him. Evans reportedly asked Oliver to hold the child, then immediately bolted back to his car and fled, leading police on a high-speed chase until he crashed at a dead end in Dekalb, Mississippi.

The suspect remains in custody at the detention center in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. He’s charged with felony fleeing and kidnapping.

The child was returned safely to her family, and her mother, who underwent emergency surgery after the attack, is expected to survive.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson stated that the attack and kidnapping appeared to be random and that there’s no known relationship between the suspect and the victims.

[Feature Photo: Thomas Lawton Evans Jr./South Carolina Department of Corrections]