Evan Brewer's stepmother breaks silence after Evan's death
"Evan was just a funny, funny kid."
It's been more than two months since Wichita Police officers found three-year-old Evan Brewer's body on South Vine in Wichita in a concrete structure. In that home, Evan's mother, Miranda Miller lived with her boyfriend Stephen Bodine. Up until this point, we've heard from family attorney Shayla Johnston. But now, for the first time, we're hearing from inside Evan's father's home.
"He was like a comedian," Evan's stepmother Sara Kirby said. "He just wanted to play. He was always funny. He always made the older kids laugh. He was just so happy and so playful. Made jokes, funny jokes."
Kirby said Evan was the ringleader and the instigator when it came to mischief with his brother, Christian. He and Christian are close in age and she said the two were partners in crime.
"If he got in trouble, he would be like sorry, dude! Or anything like that he'd add dude at the end and he was just so funny," Kirby said. "It was hard not to laugh at him."
Though it's been more than two months since officers discovered Evan's body, Kirby said they haven't been able to get rid of anything.
"We still have the signs from when we did the protest. We can't even throw them away," she said. "I mean his toothbrush is still sitting in the cup with the other kids toothbrush like, waiting for him to come home. It's just weird that he's not here."
She said Evan's father and Kirby's husband, Carlo even saved the balloons from the vigil and plans to put them in a scrapbook.
Kirby said it's been hard dealing with Evan's death and all of the issues that have followed. She said the main investigator on the case has been talking with Carlo consistently but there's still new information they aren't told.
"The information about the autopsy report being completed and his files being sealed was new to him, new to us," she said. "That was something that we didn't know about and we were surprised. He's his sole legal guardian and we don't understand why they're keeping things sealed from him. I can kind of understand the public but why keep it sealed from him?"
A judge decided to seal Kansas Department for Children and Families records FactFinder 12 requested weeks ago to get a better idea of how the state responded to reports of abuse.
The judge cited several reasons for sealing the records including saying there isn't evidence that's been presented showing Evan died of abuse or neglect, no cause of death has been established, the City of Wichita requested the documents be sealed and the city has provided evidence showing releasing the records would interfere with an investigation.
Wichita Police have yet to arrest or charge anyone in Evan's death which is something Kirby said has them confused as well.
"We just have to have faith that they're doing their job with integrity and doing the right thing," she said, though she's convinced the evidence shows Miranda Miller and Stephen Bodine are responsible.
However, the court decision to seal those records means faith is all they have because Carlo can't see the records either.
"I just have to keep reassuring him that he did literally everything that he could do," Kirby said about her husband, Carlo.
Records show Carlo Brewer contacted Wichita Police and the Kansas Department for Children and Families as well as fought for Evan in custody court. Records we obtained show he made dozens of reports.
"He took every legal path. He fought so hard and did everything the right way, the legal way, did everything they told him to do and there was nothing else he could have done literally other than kick down that door himself," she said.
Kirby said Carlo was trying to do everything the legal way and the way he was advised so that he would never put Evan in jeopardy. She said he didn't want to break down the door thinking it could put Evan in Miranda Miller's custody.
She said that would have been different if he'd have known.
"He definitely blames himself a lot because there's nothing he wouldn't do to go back and if he would have known this, he would have kicked in that door himself. I mean, no jail time or anything could have come close to what happened," she said.
The Brewers, Kirby said, believe there are many failures and many ways in which the system let Evan down.
"First and foremost, the people that killed Evan failed. They're the first ones to blame," she said. "Second I would say DCF because they've been contacted for a long time by several people, even before this custody battle began. The last time they were contacted for abuse, they closed the case out without even seeing Evan. They just saw her [Miranda] and closed it out and told Carlo he's fine. But they didn't even see him."
Kirby said Carlo called police dozens of times and officers would try to make child welfare checks with Carlo but Miller would never open the door. She said she thinks police could have tried harder to get warrants to search the home.
Kirby also said she blames the courts too for not intervening when they had the chance.
'What's keeping us going right now is the support and love coming from everybody," Kirby said. The family is selling bracelets with Evan's name and a Batman symbol on them to raise money for a proper burial.
Batman was his favorite superhero, Kirby said. She added that it's fitting it's Batman because Batman defeated evil and made change for the good which is what Evan's family thinks his case will do.
"Whether that's changing a law or figuring out what law, what didn't work. What didn't work that failed to protect him because he [Carlo] did everything from every legal way he was told to do and it didn't work," she said.
"It just, it doesn't make any sense," she said. "I don't understand why they wouldn't just, why she [Miranda] wouldn't just give him to Carlo if she didn't want him. If she was going to hurt him or if she was going to let her boyfriend hurt him. I don't know why she wouldn't just give him to Carlo."
Now, this family says it's doing everything it can to remember Evan while it awaits justice. That includes keeping a memorial on the front steps of the home and teaching Evan's siblings where he is now.
"Where is little Evan?" Kirby asks Evan's brother, Christian as he sits in her arms.
"Up in the sky," he answers as he blows Evan kisses and points upward.
"This can't die down," Kirby tells us. "Evan's going to change things and we can't let this die down."