A judge has sealed state child protection records on 3-year-old Evan Brewer – whose body was found encased in concrete in his home – finding that no evidence has been presented so far showing that the Wichita boy died from child abuse or neglect.
A spokeswoman for the Brewer family, Shayla Johnston, took issue Wednesday with the idea that there has been no evidence presented that Evan died from abuse. There was plenty of evidence and court input leading up to his death, she said.
“Evan was under protective orders because judges found he was in danger of death by abuse,” Johnston said. The orders were against Evan’s mother and her boyfriend. Evidence had already been shown that Evan was “in danger of imminent bodily harm,” Johnston said.
Evan’s body was found “encased in concrete,” Johnston said. “That doesn’t happen by accident.”
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The landlord of the rental home where Evan lived found the concrete block containing the child’s body on Sept. 2 and called police. The death remains under investigation.
Stephen Bodine, the boyfriend of Evan’s mother, has been charged with threatening Evan’s father with a hatchet. Bodine, 40, is facing trial on charges of aggravated assault and criminal damage. The assault charge accuses Bodine of threatening Carlo Brewer with a hatchet on Aug. 11 after Brewer went to the rental home where Evan and his mother, Miranda Miller, were living. Brewer – son of former Wichita mayor and gubernatorial candidate Carl Brewer – was looking for his son and concerned about his safety, Johnston has said.
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)
Evan’s body was found in concrete that had been poured into a form sitting in the laundry room of the south Wichita rental home where he lived with his mother, the landlord has told The Eagle. The boy was last seen around July 6.
Police and sheriff’s officers repeatedly knocked on Miller’s door, trying to serve protective orders against her over her son – and trying to check on the child, a police affidavit says.
Miller, 36, has been charged with aggravated interference with parental custody.
Both Bodine and Miller remain in the Sedgwick County jail with bond set at $25,000.
In the court order sealing state records on Evan, Sedgwick County District Court Judge Faith Maughan cited four reasons for sealing the records. The order came after The Eagle requested records on Evan from the Kansas Department for Children and Families.
According to a time line compiled by Johnston, the state child protection agency received four reports of suspected abuse of Evan in the year before he died.
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The Eagle requested the records in part to determine how the state responded to reports of a child being in danger.
Under state law, if “child abuse or neglect results in a child fatality or near fatality,” state records about the child being alleged to be in need of care or found to be in need of care “shall become a public record and subject to disclosure.”
According to the Oct. 14 order, the judge listed reasons for sealing the records:
▪ Because the law opening the records “does not currently apply to this matter because no evidence has been presented that establishes the death of Evan Brewer was the result of child abuse or neglect.”
▪ Because “no cause of death for the child has yet been established” by the medical examiner. Sedgwick County spokeswoman Kate Flavin said Wednesday that the autopsy report was completed on Oct. 30. She said she couldn’t comment on a cause of death because the report has been sealed by the court.
▪ Because even if it is found that Evan died of child abuse or neglect, the court is upholding the City of Wichita’s request to keep the Department for Children and Families records closed.
▪ Because based on evidence presented by the city, “release of such records is not in the public interest, would interfere with prospective law enforcement action, criminal investigation and/or prosecution, and would reveal the identity of confidential source or sources.”
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)