Crime & Courts

Former mayor confirms child found in concrete structure is his grandson

Wichita police said preliminary evidence shows the body of a 3-year-old child who was found dead inside a concrete structure on Saturday is Evan Brewer.

Lt. Jeff Gilmore said it would take about two weeks for DNA to return confirming his identity.

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Police were called to 2037 S. Vine on Saturday morning after the landlord, who was cleaning out the rental property following an eviction Friday, found a suspicious concrete structure emitting an odor inside the house, Gilmore said. Officers got a search warrant and removed the structure that day. Investigators later discovered it contained the body of a 3-year-old boy, Gilmore said.

Gubernatorial candidate and former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer confirmed Tuesday that Evan Brewer is his grandson.

“We are devastated by the death of our sweet and loving grandson, Evan,” he said in a statement. “We can not begin to make sense of this tragedy but are thankful the suspects are in custody. We request prayers and privacy for our family during this difficult time and while the police continue their investigation.”

Several questions surrounding the child’s death still remain unanswered. Gilmore said the investigation is active and declined to take questions from reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Asked later what the concrete structure was, or its size, Wichita police Officer Charley Davidson said police are just calling it a “concrete structure.” He declined to say where in the house it was found. On Monday, neighbors said they watched police use a crane lift to get the concrete out of the house.

Police say they are not sure right now how long Evan has been deceased, but gave more information Tuesday on how the case began.

In March, the boy’s father, Carlo Brewer, called Wichita police and the Kansas Department of Children and Families over the welfare of Evan. The child was in the custody of his mother, Miranda Miller, and living at the South Vine address, Gilmore said.

In April, an allegation of abuse against the child was reported to DCF. It investigated the reports and is the primary agency on that case, Gilmore said. On July 6, a protection from abuse order was issued to Carlo Brewer on behalf of Evan. Police didn’t say what the alleged abuse entailed.

Wichita police, along with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, repeatedly attempted to serve the order to Miller. They spoke with neighbors and conducted surveillance on the house but never found her, Gilmore said.

It was thought Miller left the state with Evan.

“We had no specific location (of Miller),” Gilmore said, adding that Miller knew a protection order had been filed and that she was “actively eluding police.”

Police found Miller, 36, on Aug. 30 in the 1200 block of South Emporia, according to booking records. She was arrested on suspicion of aggravated interference with parental custody. That same day, 40-year-old Stephen Bodine, who also lived at 2037 S. Vine, was arrested at the address on suspicion of aggravated assault and aggravated interference with parental custody.

On Tuesday, Bodine was charged with aggravated assault and criminal damage to property in a separate case. A judge set his bond to $25,000. A criminal complaint says Bodine is accused of assaulting someone on Aug. 11. He’s also accused of slashing the tires of a Chevrolet Tahoe the same day.

Evan was not found during their Aug. 30 arrests. Neither have been charged in the boy’s death.

An attorney for the property owner said he served an eviction notice for Bodine and Miller on Friday afternoon. He posted notices on the home’s door, detached garage and a window. He declined to say Tuesday why Miller and Bodine were being evicted.

Three neighbors said they have never seen Evan. They didn’t know how long Miller and Bodine had been living at the house. But about two weeks ago, Toni Freund said missing-child fliers with Evan’s picture were left on residents’ cars. Soon after that, she saw 30 to 40 people protesting outside the house.

“They were just saying, ‘Bring him home,’” she said Monday.

“Child deaths are always difficult cases,” Gilmore said. “The circumstances surrounding this particular case have been difficult for the family, the first responders and the community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, the child.”

Nichole Manna: 316-269-6752, @NicholeManna

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