This is one of those stories I only loathe more as I read (even more so writing about it) on, but in the memory of the young Evan Brewer, his story deserves to be told.
Earlier this year, on September 2nd to be exact, Evan Brewer’s body was found in a concrete slab in Wichita, Kansas. On that day in September, the property owner of the house Evan lived in with his parents, Miranda Miller and his step-father Stephen Bodine, was cleaning the property when he came across a concrete block in the laundry room.
He went out and bought a sledgehammer to open block and see what was inside. The affidavit stated:
“He was crying while he swung the sledgehammer because he feared Evan was inside and that the concrete block reminded him of a tomb.”
After partially cracking the block, all his fears came true, when he smelled a foul odor emanating from the cracks. He immediately called the police. Medical investigators arrived on the scene and later confirmed that the remains found in the cement block were those of Evan. Unfortunately, the body was too decomposed for them to determine a cause of death.
Inside the wall investigators also found a sheet with Ninja Turtle characters on it, grey duct tape, linoleum flooring, and towels. Both Bodine and Miller, who were in jail on other charges, were charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday, Dec. 19, and were being held on $500,000 bond.
New footage of Evan while he was still alive, has sent chills down the spine of those who were close to him. Some photographs document the horrifying abuse of the three-year-old at the hands of his mother and stepfather.
They were found in a Google account called ‘ballbuster’ which was assigned to the email address [email protected] Investigators believe they were taken with WardenCam, an app which turns home devices like smartphones and tablets into security cameras by activating their cameras when they sense motion. The time stamp marked them being taken around March 12.
Among the photographs and videos which police found, is one which allegedly shows his mother spanking his bare buttocks in a bed, shouting at him for moving around. Another photo shows Evan standing with his hands tied behind his back and a dark, leather-looking belt around his neck, a probable cause affidavit from the Wichita Police Department states.
Another video showed Evan from the legs down without any clothes on in the basement of the house Miller shared with Bodine, and with a chain connecting him to something off camera. He appears to be standing on cardboard on top of some wooden pallets on the cement floor, the affidavit states. The child’s father, Carlo Brewer, made reports of abuse to the Kansas Department of Children and Families (DCF) in March, saying that Evan had come from his mother’s house with a broken nose.
The system failed Evan, as his father continuously reported ongoing domestic abuse at the home and when a social worker with DCF investigated it in May but Miller claimed Evan was out of town with his ‘sister’. When that social worker finally met with Evan and his mother she also found a bruise on Evan’s back.
By the time he was eventually found, it was too late. Brewer family spokeswoman Shayla Johnston claims this all could have been avoided:
“Although some police and one judge did everything they could to help Evan, the rest of the child protection system failed the boy,” Johnston said Thursday. She is an attorney and a cousin of Evan’s father, Carlo.
Evan’s family is horrified by the abuse described in the affidavit. Johnston told the news media:
“I consider that torture.”
Johnston kept a timeline of the family’s efforts to get Evan into his father’s care. On March 13, the day after Evan was recorded being bound, his father called 911, according to the timeline. Carlo Brewer asked for police to see if is son was OK. It’s not clear how police responded, Johnston said.
The court ordered police to protect Evan. Johnston said:
“They could have pushed some buttons … I don’t know that they even tried including seeking a warrant.”
According to Johnston, from the first report of abuse on March 13 until May 2, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) received a total of four reports that Evan was being abused. Even the neighbors knew something was wrong.
On March 24, a DCF social worker spoke with a police detective who said Brewer reported that his son might have a broken nose. The social worker “had contact with Miranda (Miller) and Evan at her office on March 24.” The social worker “also noted Evan had a small abrasion on his back,” it says. So, if I am following correctly (I hope you are too), according to this affidavit, the state child protection agency saw Evan with his mother 11 days after the abuse recorded in the basement.
Then, on April 22 nearly a month and a half after the first report, an officer with the Exploited and Missing Child Unit cited a DCF report that Carlo Brewer “reported Bodine beating on Miranda and dragging her across the house by her hair.” Brewer “reported that Bodine was giving Evan a bath, Evan fell back hitting his head which knocked Evan out,” the affidavit says.
On May 1, the same social worker contacted Bodine at the South Vine rental house and said she needed to speak with him. The social worker “reported Bodine replied ‘so,’ and closed the door.” This finally drew some alarm. On the very next day, May 2, the social worker interviewed Miller in an office, and that’s when Miller said Evan was with her sister in Oklahoma. On May 4, a frantic Carlo Brewer told DCF that he last saw the boy on March 19 and that Evan appeared to have a broken nose.
At a May 4 court hearing, a woman testified that Bodine admitted to her that he had already beaten Evan to death, but revived him, Johnston said. At the same court hearing, Johnston said Miller was tweaking, the type of frantic, compulsive kind of behavior when one is an methamphetamine user. Johnston said:
“She was obviously a drug addict. I told her if she didn’t leave Bodine, he was going to kill them both.”
The police affidavit quoted witnesses saying that Miller and Bodine used meth and sold it from their rental home and that the boy was a “hindrance” to them. The police document details witnesses’ accounts of Bodine abusing other children over the years, including his own daughter.
“There is no question Bodine is a monster,” Johnston said. The question, she said, is “how a well-known monster was allowed to torture children for more than 20 years?”