Three-year-old's body found entombed in concrete after he was tortured to death by mother's boyfriend
41-year-old Stephen Bodine was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend's son after his own daughter testified against him saying he would try and drown her in the bathtub
A man in Kansas was convicted for the brutal murder of three-year-old Evan Brewer whose body was found encased in concrete in 2017. The jurors in the court took less than an hour to deliberate before they found 41-year-old Stephen Bodine guilty of first-degree murder on October 24. The trial lasted for six days and, throughout it, the prosecutors presented the court with multiple pieces of evidence and gruesome details that described the abuse that the toddler had to endure leading up to his eventual death on May 19, 2017.
The Wichita Eagle reported that the most shocking part of the case was the testimony that Bodine's own daughter, 23-year-old Samantha Johnson, made at the trial. She told the publication that she wanted to help "tell Evan's story". During the trial, Johnson alleged that her father used to try and drown her in the bathtub on multiple occasions when she was a child and then perform CPR to revive her. She told the paper: "I felt like a little girl again reliving it. But I had to hold it together for a three-year-old boy."
The toddler was reported as missing in July 2017 and his body was found entombed in concrete in September that same year at the home of his mother, Miranda Miller, and Bodine, her live-in boyfriend, when their landlord was cleaning it out. The couple is reported to have been evicted previously.
Around the time that her son died, Miller had full custody. The father, Carlo Brewer, however, suspected that his son was being abused and contacted the police. He even filed a petition for protection from abuse.
According to the petition that was filed, Carlo described several reports of abuse that were made to the Kansas Department of Children and Families. After the toddler's remains were discovered, Miller and Bodine were both charged with his murder. Evan's body had been found in such an advanced state of decomposition that a cause of death couldn't be determined.
Miller told the jury on October 22 that Evan had been sick for a few days before he died because Bodine had allegedly made the toddler swallow an abnormally large amount of salt. The child is reported to have collapsed later on after having stood against a wall for hours. Miller also claimed that Bodine slapped her son and forced him into a bathroom in the home. The mother then told the court that, when they checked on him, her son was limp so Bodine forced her to perform CPR on him. The pair never called 911. Days later, Bodine buried Evan’s body in a wood-and-concrete tomb using supplies he and Miller bought.
The mother agreed to a plea deal with the prosecutors in which she would testify against Bodine in order to get her charges reduced. The Eagle reported that at Bodine's preliminary hearing on April 16, Miller told the court that her former boyfriend was the one who was the most responsible for her son's death but that she also shared some of the responsibility.
Miller told local station KWCH: "I didn’t want my son dead. I wanted to raise him. I wanted to see him grow up. I wanted to be at his graduation. I wanted to see him get married. Stephen took that away from me and told me I was a bad mother because I didn’t know how to discipline my child and that I was weak, and that he needed to have a man take over and control him because he was turning into a monster the way I was raising my son."
Even though Bodine's conviction cannot bring back the dead toddler, his family is happy with how the trial for his murderer turned out. Carlo told KWCH after the hearing: "This is the beginning of justice. He was just like any other child you know except he didn’t get to have the imagination like the other children where they might think there’s monsters in their closet or under their bed… He had real monsters."
Aside from being convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Evan, Bodine was also found guilty of child abuse, aggravated child endangerment and two counts of kidnapping. The sentencing is scheduled to take place in December.