Crime & Courts

As dad tried to protect 3-year-old, mom and boyfriend were filming torture

Evan Brewer.
Evan Brewer.

A Wichita police affidavit released Wednesday reveals recorded and timestamped abuse of 3-year-old Evan Brewer on March 12 – almost six months before his body was found wrapped in a Ninja Turtle sheet and encased in concrete. The family now believes the recording occurred about two months before the boy died.

The affidavit shows that Evan suffered as his father’s family tried repeatedly to get the Kansas Department for Children and Families, Wichita police and judges to intervene for the boy, says Brewer family spokeswoman Shayla Johnston.

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 Brewer.

According to video images timestamped on March 12, Evan was being kept nude on a concrete floor surrounded by concrete walls, with a belt around his neck and his hands tied behind his back. Another video from later in the same day shows a child’s legs and buttocks. The child is wearing a heavy metal chain that appears connected to something off camera.

Evan lived with his mother, Miranda Miller, and her live-in boyfriend, Stephen Bodine. Both have been charged with murder in Evan’s death. The house where they lived had a basement.

A video recording shows more abuse on May 19. It is not clear why the abuse was recorded.

Evan’s family is horrified by the abuse described in the affidavit, Johnston said.

“I consider that torture,” she said.

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, Johnston said.

The Eagle left messages Thursday seeking comment from the Police Department spokesman and the spokeswoman for the Department for Children and Families. Neither agency commented.

The police affidavit – which gives reasons why police arrested the couple and prosecutors charged them with murder in Evan’s death – was released to media on Wednesday. The Eagle requested the affidavit under the Kansas Open Records Act.

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?”

Bodine’s lawyer couldn’t be reached Thursday.

“The problem here is we don’t have a system in the United States that’s set up to respond quickly to child abuse,” Johnston said.

Abuse timeline

Two days after Evan was being kept bound, Johnston asked a judge to force Miller to show that Evan was alive. Johnston also argued that Bodine was holding Evan hostage. Johnston said she asked that the case be referred to the District Attorney’s Office to be prosecuted as child abuse. But the judge declined, she said Thursday.

Five days after Evan was being kept bound, Brewer saw an injury on his son’s nose – it looked like skin “had been scraped off the front of his nose,” the affidavit says.

“Officers attempted contact at 2037 S. Vine and via phones for Miranda (Miller) and Bodine with no answer,” it says.

From March 13 until May 2, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) received four reports that Evan was being abused, according to Johnston.

The affidavit describes some of DCF’s involvement: 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, according to the affidavit, the state child protection agency saw Evan with his mother 11 days after the abuse recorded in the basement.

On April 22, 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.”

The next day, May 2, the social worker interviewed Miller in an office, and Miller said Evan was with her sister in Oklahoma.

On May 4, Brewer told DCF that he last saw the boy on March 19 and that Evan appeared to have a broken nose.

DCF provided this statement Friday: “The death of Evan Brewer is a horrific tragedy. On behalf of the agency, Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel extends condolences to the surviving family and all of those touched by the death of Evan Brewer. We continue to investigate tragedies involving children who we have been involved with in any capacity to see what we can learn, and how our practices might improve.

“We are bound by court order to not discuss case specifics once the records have been sealed, as they have in this case. But as is clear from the affidavit, this innocent child died an unspeakable death for which there can be no excuse.”

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.

Evan still could have been saved then, Johnston said.

At the court hearing, Johnston said Miller was tweaking – a frantic, compulsive kind of behavior associated with methamphetamine use. “She was obviously a drug addict,” Johnston said. “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.

Evan last seen

On May 4, Brewer obtained a protective order prohibiting Bodine from being around Evan and or being on the South Vine property, Johnston said.

The Brewer family confirmed from photos taken by a family friend that Evan was seen alive with his mother on May 8 at another Wichita home.

By May 18, Carlo Brewer had obtained a protective order against Miller requiring that the boy be turned over to his father, Johnston said.

Police knocked on the door at the rental home but got no answer and said they lacked probable cause that Miller and the boy were there, Johnston said.

On May 26, Miller bought concrete and a trowel, a tool used to mix or shape concrete, according to the affidavit. The family believes that was the concrete Evan was buried in.

The family now thinks Evan died between May 8 and May 26, Johnston says.

Bodine told a witness “he was the one who put the kid in the concrete in the laundry room” the affidavit says. The document also says that Bodine told a witness that the boy had stopped eating and “went to sleep and didn’t wake up.” Another witness told a detective that Bodine said Miller called him several days after Evan died “to help her get the body out of the house,” it says.

On Aug. 11, Brewer and a woman went to the South Vine home to try to speak with Miller about Evan. According to the police affidavit, Bodine told the woman that Miller and her son had moved out of state.

When the woman “asked again Bodine told her ‘I’m holding them hostage in my basement,’ in a sarcastic manner then told them to get off his property,” it says.

On Sept. 2 the landlord found Evan’s body encased in a slab of concrete in the laundry room of the house. He was wrapped in a bed sheet with Ninja Turtle characters, the affidavit says.

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