WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A boy whose body was found encased in concrete in a Wichita rental home is believed to be the son of a woman named in an order seeking to protect him from abuse, police said Tuesday.
Wichita police Lt. Jeff Gilmore told reporters that the body found Saturday in the rental home is likely that of 3-year-old Evan Brewer, though authorities are awaiting DNA results for final confirmation.
The boy's father, Carlo Brewer, contacted state officials and local police over the welfare of his son, who at the time was living with his mother and her boyfriend.
"Child deaths are always difficult cases," Gilmore said. "The circumstances surrounding this case have been difficult for family, first responders and the community."
Gilmore said authorities conducted surveillance and contacted neighbors in an effort to locate the boy's mother, Miranda Miller, 35, who was named in a protection from abuse order issued in July. Police concluded she was eluding law enforcement and had likely left the state.
Last week, Miranda Miller was arrested on suspicion of aggravated interference with parental custody, and her 40-year-old boyfriend, Stephen Bodine, was arrested on suspicion of an aggravated assault charge. No one has been charged in connection with the boy's death.
Miller's attorney in the child custody case, Julia Craft, didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.
The father's petition for a protection from abuse order on behalf of the boy details multiple reports of abuse dating back more than a year made to the Kansas Department for Children and Families. It cites four complaints dating as far back as July 2016 and as recently as April. One allegation references an injury to his nose and contends the boy was "filthy and without appropriate clothing."
One witness statement cited in the PFA alleges the boy had been beaten "to the point of death" while in the mother's care.
The document says a mutual friend of the boy's parents informed the father in May that the mother was planning to move to Texas with the boy, even though she had not given the father any notification of those plans.
Miller began refusing the father's parenting time after a weeklong visitation that ended Feb. 13. Brewer wrote in his petition that he spoke to the mother after that visit because he was concerned Evan's behavior was aggressive to other children and that boy was describing abuse. Brewer said he was not allowed visitation with his son after that discussion.
There also were protection orders filed against Bodine.
The final protection from abuse order that was entered on July 7 noted that the mother's whereabouts were unknown and that she was believed to have absconded with the child and may be out of state.
The landlord was cleaning the house Saturday after the couple were evicted found a concrete structure and noticed an odor coming from it, Gilmore said. Police removed the structure and discovered the remains of the boy inside. Police declined to elaborate further on what they would only describe as a "structure" and offered few details saying they did not want to compromise the case.
Gubernatorial candidate and former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer confirmed to The Wichita Eagle that Evan is his grandson.
"We are devastated by the death of our sweet and loving grandson, Evan," the former mayor said in a statement. He added that they cannot "begin to make sense of this tragedy" and requested prayers and privacy for the family.
Neighbor Toni Freund told the Eagle that she saw police pull something concrete from the home. She and other neighbors said they had never seen a young child at the home.
"It's definitely a tragedy," she said.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com