Megan Elizabeth Everett, 22, was last seen on May 6, when Robert Baumann dropped off their daughter, Lilly, in compliance with a shared custody agreement. Lilly was supposed to be returned to Baumann a week later, but Everett never showed up.
According to court records, Everett left a note for Baumann vaguely explaining her actions.
“You are a great dad,” she wrote, with the word “great” underlined. “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.”
The child was the subject of a custody battle that appeared to be resolved in April, when Broward Circuit Judge Steven Feren granted each side 50 percent custody. Lilly was to alternate between each parent’s home, with the exchange taking place every Tuesday, said Baumann’s lawyer, Donna Goldman.
Broward Circuit Judge Michele Towbin Singer signed a warrant on May 19 to arrest Everett on charges of kidnapping, interference with custody and concealing a minor contrary to a court order. The federal charge accused Everett of crossing state lines to avoid prosecution for the state charges.
Baumann, an air-conditioning repairman, and Everett, a bookkeeper, were never married.
Everett’s mother, Pam Everett, said Friday that the child belongs with her father.
“In the state of mind my daughter is in, Lilly would be better off with Robert,” Pam Everett said. “I have four kids, and Megan is my baby. I don’t know what happened to her.”
Lilly and Megan Everett lived with Pam Everett for the first eight months of the baby’s life, until Megan became involved with a man named Carlos Lesters. After that, she all but severed ties with her family, her mother said.
Court documents describe Lesters as a Confederate-flag-waving gun enthusiast with family members in Georgia and Kentucky.
Lesters, who could not be reached for comment despite phone calls to his last known phone number, has not been accused of any crime.
“One of the issues we had was, she wanted to home-school my daughter,” said Baumann. “I didn’t want that to happen. She didn’t want Lilly to learn about black history. She just wanted her to learn about the Confederacy.”
Baumann had planned to have his daughter receive vaccinations the next time he had custody, and also planned to enroll her in preschool.
“She found this new idea that vaccines are horrible,” Baumann said. “I think she wanted to keep her from being vaccinated because that would keep her out of day care.”
After Lilly’s disappearance, Sunrise police went to her last known address, where they were greeted by Lesters.
He told them Everett and her daughter were gone and “not coming back,” according to the federal criminal complaint.
“Lesters informed detectives that Everett … knew she would have to live her life as a fugitive,” the complaint states. “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.”