KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Few people have had more vested interest in the capture of fugitive Sean Williams than Mikayla Evans — and were it not for a life-shattering event in Evans’s life, Williams may never have been a fugitive at all.
Evans miraculously survived a five-story fall from a window at Williams’s downtown Johnson City apartment in the wee hours of Sept. 19, 2020.
The investigation into that incident sparked a chain of events that resulted in Williams’s indictment on federal weapons charges in April 2021, his flight from justice in May 2021, and a lawsuit by a former federal attorney last year. Evans is known as “Jane Doe 1” in that suit.
Kateri “Kat” Dahl worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in an agreement with Johnson City, where she helped JCPD take serious drug and weapons violations federal. Her suit claims that Johnson City police stonewalled her as she pressed them to investigate multiple claims that Williams was a drug trafficker and serial rapist, then fired her in retaliation for her efforts.
“What I wanted from the get-go was for people to know his name and his face,” Evans told News Channel 11 Monday, 17 days after Williams was arrested in North Carolina after nearly two years on the run. “That way if there’s other victims in other states they can come forward and that way they know who this person is.”
“Who this person is,” at least according to Dahl’s lawsuit, is someone police should have made much more effort to build sexual assault and drug trafficking cases against. Until late Friday, Williams’s link to the lawsuit was obscured because he was identified by a pseudonym, “Robert Voe,” due to his being on the run from a sealed federal indictment.
Dahl’s suit says she “gathered substantial evidence” that Williams “had not just been dealing drugs, but was credibly accused of raping multiple women, and had possibly caused the death of one of his victims.”
Dahl did all of that because police came to her in November 2020 because they had found ammunition in Williams’s safe while investigating Evans’s fall — a federal crime if someone has been convicted of certain levels of felonies, which Williams had in the past.
Evans, who has never accused Williams of sexually assaulting her, said she’s become convinced that Williams — who has not been charged with sexually assaulting anyone — did victimize women, and would have continued to do so. Dahl’s lawsuit mentions a total of 10 “Jane Does.”
“Maybe he’s like, ‘man, I wish I’d never let this girl come in my … apartment,’ but I’m glad he did, because if it wasn’t for me there’d be a lot of people out here that would have become his victim or worse things that could have happened,” Evans said.
“And I’m just glad he can’t hurt nobody else. That’s all that matters to me is that he’s not harming nobody else.”
Police in North Carolina reported Williams had 12 ounces of cocaine and 14 ounces of meth when they arrested him near Western Carolina University April 29. Because of a federal warrant for being a felon in possession of ammunition, he was transferred to federal custody and arraigned May 9.
That led to the warrant being unsealed, and late Friday, a federal judge granted a motion by Dahl’s attorneys to use his real name in the lawsuit, which they had requested be redacted due to the sealed indictment.
Evans remembers little from the night she fell. She said she doesn’t know how she fell from the window. But as she recovered from near-fatal injuries, Evans learned more about Dahl’s inquiries into Williams, who according to her lawsuit “had previously been named as a suspect in two Johnson City police reports for sexual assault.”
Many more alleged victims came forward to Dahl, and Evans said she’s started an organization called “Speak Up, Speak Out” that supports victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“This has been an escalation because of everything that’s happened to me and all the stuff that’s happened to me and all the stuff I’ve learned along the way about the criminal involved with me, Mr. Williams,” Evans said.
“I have reached out and am friends with some of the other victims and I want to just help everybody — I want to now become an advocate.”
Evans’s life since leaving the hospital weeks later has been filled with physical and psychological pain. She uses a walker, needs a soft cushion when she sits, and experiences post-traumatic stress disorder from that night — as does her son, who was 8 at the time.
“I still have days when I feel like I’m going to fall over and fall down, I walk unbalanced, I still have broken screws in my pelvic that I need surgery on,” Evans said.
“I’m going back through physical and occupational therapy again for my hand and my leg to get them moving better and to get some muscle mass back, and my mental health has completely been horrible.”
She said her son has also experienced post-traumatic stress, but that their relationship keeps her going. She’s a regular at his baseball games.
“I have to keep living. It’s like I told him, I said, ‘buddy, you’re my kid, I can’t stop being your mom just because I got hurt. We got to keep pushing forward.'”
“If I didn’t have a child I probably would have give up a long time ago,” she added.
Dahl’s lawsuit isn’t set for trial until May 2024, but Evans said she hopes to attend one of Williams’s court dates.
“I guess (for him) to see my face, which I think would make me feel good about it,” she said.
“If nothing else maybe it can trigger something in him, maybe guilt. I don’t know that he feels that, but if he does maybe he feels guilty even, I don’t know, being around me that night.”
Williams’s ammunition trial is scheduled for Aug. 22.