The remains of a small child found last weekend encased in concrete inside a rental home in Wichita, Kansas, are likely those of a 3-year-old boy who has been missing since July, authorities announced on Tuesday.
Wichita police said they suspect the child’s remains are those of Evan Brewer, who disappeared on July 6, according to missing-persons reports. Authorities said DNA testing will confirm the tentative identification, with results expected back in two weeks.
The child’s body was found in a concrete structure in the home where Evan used to live with his mother, 36-year-old Miranda Miller, according to authorities. Miller and Stephen Bodine, 40, who also lived in the home and is believed to be her boyfriend, have recently been evicted from the home, Wichita Police Department Lt. Jeff Gilmore said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Their former landlord was cleaning the property on Saturday when he called police saying he found the structure, which was emitting a strong odor inside the home, Gilmore said. Investigators removed the structure and the remains were discovered inside.
Gilmore said the investigation into the Evan’s disappearance is ongoing and key facts remain publicly unclear, such as how and when the boy was allegedly killed. Gilmore declined to answer questions at Tuesday’s news conference.
However, he described the series of events leading up to Evan going missing — including an allegation the boy was abused — and announced that Bodine and Miller are suspected of interfering with parental custody.
Bodine is additionally suspected of aggravated assault, according to the police, though it is unclear if that is connected to Evan’s case.
“Child deaths are always difficult,” Gilmore said, adding, “The circumstances surrounding this particular case have been difficult for the family, the first responders and the community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the child and those impacted in this tragic case.”
Previous Allegation of Abuse
According to Wichita police, Evan’s father, Carlo Brewer, had been concerned for several months about his son, who was in Miller’s custody.
In March, Brewer initiated contact with the Kansas Department for Children and Families about the boy’s welfare, Gilmore said.
In April, DCF began investigating an allegation that Evan had been abused, Gilmore said, and on July 6 — the same day Evan is listed as going missing — the court issued a protection from abuse order for Carlo Brewer on behalf of his son.
Authorities attempting to serve Miller with the order were not able to locate her or Evan, Gilmore told reporters on Tuesday. In August, he said, investigators learned that Miller “was aware of the protection from order and was actively eluding being served.”
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On Wednesday police located Miller in Wichita and arrested her on suspicion of aggravated interference with parental custody, Gilmore said. She was booked into jail and remains held in lieu of $25,000 bond. Evan was not with her when she was taken into custody.
Bodine, Miller’s suspected boyfriend, was also arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of aggravated assault and aggravated interference with parental custody, Gilmore said. He is being held in lieu of a combined $260,000 bond.
Bodine and Miller have not yet entered pleas. It is unclear whether they have retained attorneys.
The Sedgwick County Medical Examiner’s Office in Kansas is working on identifying the remains found on Saturday, police said.
‘We Are Devastated’
Evan’s paternal grandfather, Carl Brewer — the former mayor of Wichita and a candidate for governor of Kansas — on Tuesday reacted to the news that his grandson’s body had likely been found:
“We are devastated by the death of our sweet and loving grandson, Evan. We cannot begin to make sense of this tragedy but are thankful the suspects are in custody. We request prayers and privacy for our family during this difficult time and while the police continue their investigation.”
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Toni Freund, who lives near the rental house, told the Wichita Eagle that she saw police pull something concrete from the home.
“It’s definitely a tragedy,” she said.
Calls to Wichita police, the medical examiner’s office, the state DCF, Miller, Bodine and Carl and Carlo Brewer were not immediately returned.