Crime & Courts

The smell told the landlord that 3-year-old Evan Brewer had died

Carlo Brewer and his wife, Sara, hug during a vigil for Carlo's son Evan Brewer in front of the house where the 3-year-old child’s body was found.
Carlo Brewer and his wife, Sara, hug during a vigil for Carlo's son Evan Brewer in front of the house where the 3-year-old child’s body was found. The Wichita Eagle

When landlord Dwayne Haukap noticed the smell coming from the concrete block at the rented house, it told him without a doubt that 3-year-old Evan Brewer had died.

The landlord knew he was smelling the child’s body, and “he was very distraught,” Haukap’s attorney recalled Monday.

Haukap connected the smell to something that Evan’s father, Carlo Brewer, had already told him – that Carlo Brewer suspected the boyfriend of the child’s mother of harming his son, said Haukap’s attorney, John Barrett.

Carlo Brewer had gone to court and obtained sole custody after arguing that Evan had been missing and that a woman signed an affidavit saying that Stephen Bodine – the live-in boyfriend – told her he had nearly beaten the boy to death.

The distraught landlord called 911 first, then his attorney, Barrett said.

It was on that Saturday, Sept. 2 that Evan’s death became an indisputable fact waiting to be confirmed by DNA analysis.

The grisly discovery came after Carlo Brewer and his supporters had protested outside the south Wichita rental home on multiple nights in August, asking where the child was and demanding that he be turned over to his father.

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

Evan is a grandson of Carl Brewer, the Wichita mayor from 2007 to 2015 and now a Democratic candidate for governor.

The Brewer family held a vigil for Evan on Sunday evening at the home on South Vine where his body was found. At the vigil, his tearful father wore a Batman T-shirt in memory of Evan. The boy loved the action hero figure, his grandparents said in an interview with The Eagle last week.

On Monday afternoon, Wichita police confirmed that DNA positively identified the remains as those of Evan. He lived with his mother, Miranda Miller, and her boyfriend Bodine at 2037 S. Vine.

Miller and Bodine have been held in jail on charges not directly related to the boy’s death. No charges have been filed in the death, and police have not said how the child died.

Police said in the statement Monday that they won’t comment further as the investigation of the child’s death continues.

In a phone interview, Barrett explained what led to his client discovering the body.

At one point, because of the protests occurring outside the rental home, police were saying they were going to declare the rental home a nuisance. That led to an eviction notice being served, Barrett said.

The eviction court papers alleged that Bodine was “unlawfully in possession of” the rental home because the rental agreement said only Miller and her son should live there. Also, she was past due on her $650 rent for August, the court papers said.

The attorney recalled that when he went to the house on South Vine to serve the eviction notice on Aug. 19, there was a “No trespassing” notice in a window.

Bodine yelled at him through the door, shouting over and over: “You’re illegal. You’re on camera. You’re breaking the law,” Barrett said.

Police arrested Miller and Bodine at separate locations in Wichita on Aug. 30.

On Sept. 2, a Saturday over Labor Day weekend, Haukap went to the home to tidy up the property. At the house, the landlord found what he described as an upside-down work bench with plywood placed between the legs to hold concrete, Barrett said.

In a statement Monday, police said: “The property owner was cleaning out his rental property and alerted police to a suspicious concrete structure that was emitting an odor. Police removed the concrete structure from the house and later found the remains of Evan inside the concrete structure.”

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)

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