Crime & Courts

‘Evan’s death was predicted,’ father’s attorney says

Police investigate death of 3-year-old

Wichita police Lt. Jeff Gilmore gives a briefing on the death of 3-year-old Evan Brewer. His body was found on Saturday. (Video by Bo Rader / The Wichita Eagle / Sept. 5, 2017)
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Wichita police Lt. Jeff Gilmore gives a briefing on the death of 3-year-old Evan Brewer. His body was found on Saturday. (Video by Bo Rader / The Wichita Eagle / Sept. 5, 2017)

Months before police found 3-year-old Evan Brewer’s body encased in concrete, a woman told a judge that a man living with the boy said he had nearly beat him to death.

Four times the boy’s father and others contacted the state agency charged with protecting children, expressing concern about the boy’s safety, said Shayla Johnston, an attorney for Evan’s father.

“Evan’s death was predicted and happened, and we begged the court system to save him before he was murdered,” Johnston said Thursday.

No charges have been filed in the boy’s death as police continue to investigate. Police have not said how he died. His body was found Saturday.

A woman’s hand-written letter became part of sworn testimony in court in early May and in early July.

In the letter, the woman alleges that her former longtime boyfriend, Stephen “Bo” Bodine, told her that “he (Bo) beat both of them to the point of death and brought them back by CPR.”

Carlo Brewer is confronted by Stephen Bodine outside of a home on South Vine in August. Brewer was seeking answers on the whereabouts of his son, 3-year-old Evan Brewer. (Video used with permission)

The woman was referring to Evan and his mother, Miranda Miller, 36. Bodine, 40, was Miller’s boyfriend and lived with her and her child at a rental house on South Vine.

On Saturday, after the landlord alerted Wichita police, investigators found what they have described as a suspicious concrete structure containing the boy’s remains. The Brewer family has described it as a workbench filled with concrete that wasn’t noticed until after it emitted an odor.

The woman’s letter was part of an expanding court case in a legal battle over Evan waged by his father, Carlo Brewer. As an attorney and as a cousin of Carlo Brewer, Johnston compiled a detailed timeline of his efforts to protect his 3-year-old son. He was concerned that the boy was being neglected by his mother or harmed by Bodine, Johnston said.

Evan is the grandson of former Wichita mayor and current gubernatorial candidate Carl Brewer, who spoke about the death in a 90-minute interview with The Eagle on Wednesday.

“It means if we couldn’t save Evan, what child can be saved?” said Johnston, who is Carl Brewer’s niece.

Carl Brewer said in the interview Wednesday that Gov. Sam Brownback called Tuesday, gave his condolences and said he would look into DCF’s handling of the case involving Evan. DCF – the Department for Children and Families – is the state agency that investigates reports of child abuse.

In an email Thursday, Brownback interim spokeswoman Rachel Whitten said: “The Governor’s office is unable to comment upon ongoing investigations. I can confirm that the Governor reached out to Mayor Brewer, extending his deepest sympathies, and that the entire Brewer family continues to be on his mind and in his prayers.”

DCF also has said it can’t comment.

Johnston aided her cousin as he went to court after Bodine allegedly stopped letting him see his son. At one point, the Brewer family says, Evan’s parents had an amicable arrangement.

Johnston’s timeline begins with the seven-month period from July 1, 2016, to Feb. 1, 2017. During that time, she wrote, Carlo Brewer and other family members saw Evan “filthy and without appropriate clothing,” that Miller came to Evan’s grandmother’s house asking for money, that the boy was seen in the care of a non-relative, that the mother was not letting the father see his son and that the mother admitted to needing drug rehabilitation.

The timeline

According to the timeline, written by Johnston, the first report to DCF over suspected abuse or neglect of Evan was received more than a year ago – on July 21, 2016. There were two child-support hearings involving Evan in late 2016, but Miller didn’t show up.

Only one of the four reports to DCF was from a Brewer family member, Johnston said.

Carlo Brewer’s last visitation with his son was during the period from Feb. 6 to Feb. 13. The father “expresses concern to Miller about Evan choking other children, regression in potty training and Evan’s description of abuse in her home,” the timeline says.

March 13: Carlo Brewer calls 911 for a “welfare check” on Evan. “Miller is nonresponsive to DCF and police and refuses to let anyone see the child,” Johnston wrote.

March 14: Miller doesn’t appear at a child support hearing. Johnston asks for a continuance “to force Miller to produce the child and/or obtain proof of life and argues that Bodine will continue to hold Evan hostage as long as he is receiving Brewer’s automatic child support withholdings.” A judge denied the request, she wrote.

March 17: Carlo Brewer gets text messages from Miller’s phone “threatening him and his father ... using racial hate words and prohibiting communication with Miller,” according to Johnston.

March 17: Carlo Brewer notices that Evan has an injured nose at Miller’s home, in the 2000 block of South Vine.

March 18: Johnston “contacts Miller with directions to bring Evan to the emergency care provider of her choice for a medical evaluation in the next 48 hours, with costs to be provided by Brewer,” the father. “Miller answers the phone but is nonresponsive to the request and refers the attorney to speak with her boyfriend, Stephen Bodine,” according to Johnston.

March 19: DCF gets a second report of suspected abuse or neglect of Evan. “Mother again is nonresponsive to DCF and police,” Johnston wrote.

March 20: DCF gets third report. “Mother continues to refuse contact with DCF and police,” Johnston wrote.

March 13 to April 18: Law enforcement and DCF make “repeated attempts” to speak with Miller, “including knocking on doors and windows in the evening at her residence,” Johnston wrote.

April 18: Miller files a protection-from-stalking case against Carlo Brewer “for knocking on doors and windows” at her home.

April 22: Fourth DCF report received. “Miller continues to refuse all contact with DCF and police,” Johnston wrote.

April 27: 911 call concerning Evan.

May 2: 911 call involving Evan.

Protesters gathered outside the rental home of Miranda Miller and Stephen Bodine in August, demanding that they give her son, 3-year-old Evan Brewer, to his father, Carlo Brewer. The 3-year-old was found dead inside the house last weekend. (Video

May 3: A woman gives a statement notarized by Carlo Brewer’s mother, Cathy, stating that Miller’s live-in boyfriend, Bodine, told her that he had beaten Evan “to the point of death.”

The letter became part of the court record at a May 4 hearing and at a July 6 hearing, Johnston said Wednesday.

The woman who wrote the letter told The Eagle on Wednesday that she had previously lived with Bodine. She asked not to be identified by name because she is worried about her safety.

The woman said that Miller and Bodine had worked at the same plastics business.

She thinks she last saw Evan around May. She repeated one thing she mentioned in the letter: that Evan seemed to be “terrified” around Bodine, that she saw the boy turn his head away, close his eyes and walk slowly by Bodine as if to avoid him. In the letter, she wrote that Bodine “Complained that Evan was scard (sic) of him. Evan would not look at him, wet himself because he didn’t want to pass the room he (Bo) was in.”

She told The Eagle that she wrote the letter to help Carlo Brewer “get his son back.”

In the letter, she wrote that “Bo is a violent man.”

Bodine is in jail, charged with aggravated assault with a hatchet and criminal damage to property in an Aug. 11 incident. Johnston said the victim, listed in court records by the initials “CAB,” is Carlo Brewer. She said the alleged attack happened when the father tried to retrieve his son from the rental home.

In 2004, Bodine was convicted of aggravated battery in Geary County. He spent time at El Dorado Correctional Facility, where he was disciplined for fighting, records show. His sentence expired in November 2006.

The woman wrote in the letter that she asked police to check on Miller and “especially Evan,” and that it caused Bodine to send threatening text messages to her.

The last thing she wrote in the letter: “There is one more thing, Bo had told me at one time ... I have Miranda (Miller) submissive now I need to work on Evan.”

May 4: Miller and Bodine appear in court in her protection-from-stalking case against Carlo Brewer. Also in court, according to Johnston’s timeline, are the woman who wrote the letter and an officer with the Exploited and Missing Child Unit. A judge grants Miller’s request “to continue her protective orders against Brewer and allows Bodine and Miller to leave court.”

Also that same day, May 4: Carlo Brewer is granted a court order to protect Evan from Bodine. The protection-from-abuse order also prohibited Bodine from being at Evan’s house. Carlo Brewer was granted a protection-from-stalking order against Bodine. And the woman who wrote the letter about Bodine filed for protection from stalking against Bodine.

May 7: A friend tells Carlo Brewer that Miller is planning to move to Texas with Evan.

May 18: Carlo Brewer receives a court order to protect Evan from Miller, the mother. Carlo Brewer also gets “temporary orders for custody, restraint and police retrieval of Evan.”

June 1: Hearings on the various cases are continued to July 6 “for lack of service” because neither Miller nor Bodine could be contacted, Johnston wrote.

July 1: According to Johnston’s timeline, a neighbor sees Evan with Bodine in the front yard of the rental home on South Vine. The neighbor, contacted by The Eagle, said she thought it occurred on an afternoon in early July, after July 4. Evan was wearing shorts and a T-shirt. They were standing to the side of a Chevy Blazer in the driveway. She asked not to be identified because of concern for her safety.

July 6: The court approves orders for Carlo Brewer “to have sole custody of Evan and terminate his child support” to the mother.

Aug. 23: Miller gets Brewer’s final child support payment.

Aug. 30: Bodine and Miller are arrested – about three days before the discovery of Evan’s body. Miller has been charged with aggravated interference with parental custody.

Sept. 2: Evan’s remains are discovered at the house.

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