Days after police had searched the small rental house without realizing what was inside, the landlord looked around himself.
One thing he could see – a child’s toys scattered around the house.
At first, Dwayne Haukap recalled Tuesday, “I overlooked it.”
It was a big slab of fairly fresh concrete, covered in carpet and tools in the laundry room, Haukap said.
Never miss a local story.
After he took the carpet off, he saw that there was an improvised structure beneath. Based on his construction experience, he estimated it held 1,000 to 1,200 pounds of concrete.
“And that made no sense to me,” he said – that someone would set up a structure like that in the laundry room.
The concrete was around 20 inches tall, a little more than two feet wide. It had been poured into what looked like a work bench that had been turned upside down, with the legs up. A plywood form contained the concrete.
It had rollers on the bottom but looked too heavy to move. It left grooves in the flooring when Haukap tried to move it.
Haukap immediately had his suspicions about what the structure meant once he uncovered it.
He knew that people suspected that 3-year-old Evan Brewer may have been harmed. Evan lived at the home with his mother, Miranda Miller. Only mother and child were on the rental agreement. Stephen Bodine, her boyfriend, also stayed there.
Haukap had last seen Evan when he inspected the house during the spring. He held Evan. The child seemed fine then.
Haukap said he felt compelled to confirm his suspicion, so he drove to Harbor Freight and bought a sledgehammer to crack open the concrete.
As he struck it seven or eight times, he began to cry because he knew what was inside, he recalled.
He knew even before he noticed the odor escaping from the broken concrete.
He called 911 and his attorney, who had served an eviction notice on Miller on Aug. 19.
Police arrived and removed the structure and eventually confirmed through DNA that the remains inside were those of Evan. The child had been missing, according to his father, Carlo Brewer.
After the discovery, Haukap said, Carlo Brewer told him that if the concrete block had been removed from the house, the world might never have known where his son’s body was.
Police found the body on Sept. 2. For a few days around that time, Haukap said, a moving truck had been backed into the driveway of the rental home at 2037 S. Vine.
Police had arrested Bodine at the house on Aug. 30, the same day that they arrested Miller in the 1200 block of South Emporia. Police said they had searched the house by the evening of Aug. 30, about three days before Haukap found the concrete block.
Bodine is in jail on a $25,000 bond, charged with aggravated assault against Carlo Brewer over an alleged attack involving a hatchet, outside the same rental house in mid-August.
Evan’s mother also remains in jail on a $25,000 bond, charged with aggravated interference with parental custody.
No charges have been filed in the child’s death, and police haven’t disclosed a cause of death as the investigation continues.