Kathy Niblack said she had noticed an increase in police presence on her street before the body of a 3-year-old boy was found. (Nichole Manna/The Wichita Eagle) nmanna@wichitaeagle.com
Kathy Niblack said she had noticed an increase in police presence on her street before the body of a 3-year-old boy was found. (Nichole Manna/The Wichita Eagle) nmanna@wichitaeagle.com

Crime & Courts

Body of child found; neighbors say a child was missing

By Nichole Manna

nmanna@wichitaeagle.com

September 04, 2017 01:06 PM

UPDATED September 05, 2017 12:34 PM

A few people who live near the home on South Vine where the body of a 3-year-old boy was found Saturday said they never saw the child and didn’t know the people who lived there.

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They did come home one day about two weeks ago to missing child fliers attached to their cars. Then soon after that, neighbor Toni Freund said she saw 30 to 40 people protesting outside the house.

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

Freund never saw the child. Neither did Kathy Niblack or Richard Kathey, who all live within eyesight of the house. Now they’re left trying to understand what happened.

“I can’t see any parent being involved that way,” Kathey said.

Police were called to the house Saturday after the landlord, who was cleaning out the rental property, found a suspicious concrete structure emitting an odor inside the house, Officer Charley Davidson said in a news release Sunday.

The residents, a 40-year-old man and 36-year-old woman, were arrested earlier in the week on different charges associated with a child custody case, Davidson said.

According to arrest reports, Stephen Bodine, 40, was arrested at the address on suspicion of aggravated assault and aggravated interference with parental custody. He’s being held on a combined $260,000 bond. The same day, Miranda Miller, 36, was arrested in the 1200 block of South Emporia on suspicion of aggravated interference with parental custody. She’s being held on a $25,000 bond.

The house at 2037 S. Vine is quiet now.

No police were there Monday afternoon and any indication of their earlier presence had been removed. Bright orange fliers were attached to the front door, a window and the detached garage when an attorney served the Journal Entry and Writ of Restitution in the eviction case.

“NOTICE,” the fliers say. “Pursuant to Court Order, entry onto these premises by MIRANDA RYAN MILLER, STEPHEN BODINE, or any person claiming by, through or under them is a criminal trespass for which you will be prosecuted.”

The front door is now secured with a padlock and tape dated Sept. 3.

Police haven’t officially released the names of the man and woman they say were arrested earlier in the week.

They also haven’t released the name of the boy who was found. In the Sunday statement, Davidson said the investigation into the circumstances of the boy’s death is still ongoing.

“We have a tentative identification on the child, but confirmation of the child’s identity is being coordinated through the Sedgwick County Medical Examiner,” he wrote.

The flier identified the missing child as 3-year-old Evan Brewer and said that Miller is his mother. It said she might be with Bodine. The fliers were also shared on social media with people pleading for Evan’s safe return.

In the time since the missing child fliers were passed out, Niblack said she’s seen more police in the area.

“This has been going on for some time, the police presence,” she said. “Friday night they were everywhere. Saturday night they were everywhere.”

Freund said she saw police pull something concrete from the home. Kathey said his house was blocked by a crane lift Saturday, but he didn’t see what was pulled.

He’s lived on the street since 1962 and about 20 years ago, the ratio between homeowners and renters changed drastically.

“There’s about three to four houses that are owned,” he said, “You don’t get to know your neighbors like you used to.”

Freund, a mother of four, has lived in the neighborhood for two years.

“It’s definitely a tragedy,” she said.

Nichole Manna: 316-269-6752, @NicholeManna