An Image of My Father

The picture above is a colorized portrait of my father.  He has been dead for a dozen years, but as I write this it chokes me up to see my father looking back at me again.  He was my protector.  While the rest of my family often mistreated me, when dad was home I was safe and he made sure I was treated fairly.   My father was a stalwart man of principle, a genius engineer, and a servant of God.  He was a formidable man who could bring gravitas to any discussion, but he could also tell hilarious jokes for two hours straight after all the serious matters had been taken care of.  

My father showed me how to be a man, by being masculine for our entire life together.  His Biblical frame of reference did not bend to accommodate the world, the world had to adapt itself to my father.  He never cared about fame, he had no love of money, and he wasn’t afraid to die, so the world lacked much leverage against my dad.  Life with dad was an adventure, a mission, a test, and I never doubted for a moment that dad would see to it that we achieved his mission, no matter the circumstances.

 I wish every boy could grow up with a father like mine.  Because then there would be no questions about how to be masculine, nobody undisciplined, and no man without a mission.  It breaks my heart that so many boys are now growing up without fathers, including my own sons.  What they miss out on by not having a father in their life is incalculable.   You need a solid man to raise up solid men.  Boys can’t learn how to be a man by watching their mother.

Meth-Head Mama

This past week former Wichita Kansas Mayor Carl Brewer passed away at age 63 after an extended illness with kidney complications that were further complicated by cancer.  Mayor Brewer served two terms as Mayor of Wichita from 2007 to 2015.  I was saddened to find that out when I receive an email this Monday, that mourned his passing.  I had met with Carl Brewer about four times a decade ago while he was Mayor, and Carl, along with his son Carlo, had even been to my house and purchased a fishing lease from me.  I had offered to give Carl the lease, but Carl had insisted on paying the full price of $200.  As with any great politician, Carl made me feel like I was a close friend, even though I had only met with him a few times, and we did not hail from the same political party.  After fondly remembering Carl, I decided I would post about a family tragedy that happened to the Brewers, partly because of Feminist child-custody policies.

Carl Brewer with Evan Brewer inset

Carl Brewer shown with his grandson Evan Brewer (inset)

As you may know, mothers are wrongly given preferential custody of children in many jurisdictions, including here.  This stems from the Feminist “tender years doctrine” that presumes young children need their mother more than their father.  Statistical studies have now proven, however, that children raised by single fathers have far better outcomes, on all important metrics, than children raised by single mothers.  Meaning that as a society we are preferentially giving women greater custody of children even when they are clearly the inferior parent.  This is a modern application of Feminist thinking, and was not the case in the past.  In times past children were left in their father’s care unless he was unwilling or was proven to be unfit to parent them.  Consequently children then benefitted when divorce was far more rare due to mothers having that important incentive to keep their marriages solid.

Wichita Kansas does not typically have a lot of murders, however, the city of 400,000 people does seem to make up for their lack of quantity, with the eye-popping level of atrocity in many of their high-profile murder cases which have gained worldwide attention for their savagery: Dennis Rader (BTK), the Carr brothers, Cornell McNeal, Etc.

The sad story

The following are all news citations regarding the murder of Carlo Brewer’s son, by the boy’s mother Miranda Miller and her live-in boyfriend Stephen Bodine:

A Kansas prosecutor is praising the jurors who sat through days of grisly testimony and evidence before finding a man guilty of abuse and first-degree murder in the death of a 3-year-old boy whose body was found encased in concrete.  Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett says the jury performed an extraordinary service to the community while having to absorb more than 500 pieces of sometimes “wretched” evidence.

Stephen Bodine was sentenced to 109 years Monday for the murder of 3-year-old Evan Brewer.  Bodine was found guilty on all charges, including two counts of first-degree felony murder, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of child abuse and one count of aggravated child endangerment. All counts will be served back to back for a total sentence of 1,314 months.

Miranda Miller, 37, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, child abuse and aggravated child endangerment under a deal in which she faces a prison sentence of about 29 years. With credit for good behavior, she could get out of prison in about 25 years, District Attorney Marc Bennett told The Wichita Eagle after Miller’s hearing in Sedgwick County District Court. 

Miller is also charged with murder in her son’s death. In exchange for testifying against Bodine, she will be allowed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder.

The boy’s father said after the hearing that he was pleased Miller took the plea deal because that means there won’t be another trial that the Brewer family will have to endure.  “It doesn’t make her any less of a monster than Bodine,” Carlo Brewer said, “because she’s just as guilty.”

[Carlo] Brewer had been fighting for custody of Evan in the months leading up to his death, and authorities had been alerted at least six times that Evan was being abused .
Brewer says other children imagine monsters under their beds or in their closets, but that Evan “had real monsters.”

some of Evan’s abuse was caught on film by a motion-activated video surveillance system Bodine and Miller set up in the home they rented at 2037 S. Vine in Wichita.

Video and audio recordings showed during the April hearing depicted Evan being forced to stand naked in the basement of his home with his hands behind his back and a belt around his neck, as well as the child being taunted and slapped while he screamed and cried.

Among the photographs and videos which police found after their arrest is one which allegedly shows his mother spanking his bare buttocks in a bed, shouting at him for moving around.  They were found in a Google account called ‘ballbuster’ which was assigned to the email address Evanbrewer67@gmail.com.

An autopsy couldn’t determine the cause and manner of Evan’s death because his body was so badly decomposed by the time he was chipped out of the block of concrete. He had Benadryl in his system, and Miller said she thinks Bodine sickened him in the days leading up to his death by force-feeding him large amounts of salt.

In her testimony against Bodine, Miller said in her son’s final days, he was unable to eat or drink.

At a court hearing in April, Miller testified that leading up to Evan’s death he’d been ill for three days — possibly from being forced to swallow large amounts of salt for angering Bodine — and was refusing food and drink.  When the boy gagged on doughnuts and juice his mother force fed him and didn’t eat quickly enough, the couple beat him. They then sent him to stand in a corner for hours with his hands behind his back until he collapsed.  When Evan refused to get up, Bodine slapped him and hauled him into the bathroom to stop his screams, Miller testified in April.  The next time she saw Evan, he was lying unresponsive in Bodine’s arms. The boy’s head was wet and Bodine was telling her to perform CPR.  Evan never recovered.  The day was the culmination of abuse of Evan that included withheld meals, beatings for not greeting Bodine in the right tone, being cursed at and being smacked for not lying still in bed. The boy was so scared of Bodine he wouldn’t pass by him to go use the bathroom, resulting in potty training accidents that reportedly angered Bodine further.

According to Bodine’s former wife and his daughter, he was abusive, violent and prone to beating children.  They told of how he kept his daughter’s head under water on three occasions for so long that she would have to be revived by CPR.

Friends of the couple have since told police that they took and dealt methamphetamines.  One person told police that Bodine allowed men to molest his daughters from a previous relationship in exchange for drugs.

[Miranda Miller] said during a preliminary hearing that a few days later Bodine told her that he wanted “to take care of Evan before he started to smell.” She said he mixed up several bags of concrete and buried the boy’s body in it.  Evan was discovered entombed in the concrete in early September, after Miller and Bodine had moved out of the property.

Evan suffered as his father’s family tried repeatedly to get the Kansas Department for Children and Families, Wichita police and judges to intervene for the boy, says Brewer family spokeswoman Shayla Johnston.

At a May 4 court hearing, a woman testified that Bodine admitted to her that he had already beaten Evan to death, but revived him, Johnston said.  Evan still could have been saved then, Johnston said.  At the court hearing, Johnston said Miller was tweaking – a frantic, compulsive kind of behavior associated with methamphetamine use. “She was obviously a drug addict,” Johnston said. “I told her if she didn’t leave Bodine, he was going to kill them both.”  The police affidavit quoted witnesses saying that Miller and Bodine used meth and sold it from their rental home and that the boy was a “hindrance” to them.

Miller said Evan died because of her drug addiction and her abusive relationship with Bodine.  Brewer family attorney Shayla Johnston argued against that after the sentencing.  “Just because you’re a victim of domestic violence yourself does not give you an excuse to not accept help that’s given to you,” she said.  “Miranda Miller knows very well that she was never a hostage in that house. She was in this courthouse on May 4, 2017 while Evan was still alive and I offered her. At that time, I got her out of the seat away from Bodine and I took her out to the jury room and talked to her and told her I could help her right then,” Johnston said. “I said if she didn’t get away from Bodine that not only would she risk her life and her child’s life, but she risks losing custody of her child to Carlo and her words were, ‘Over my dead body will Carlo have custody of this child.’ So she chose to let her child die rather than let the father bring his child to safety. She’s no victim.”

Evan was last seen alive by his biological father Carlo Brewer in March 2017 when he saw him with what he thought was a broken nose.  When he asked Miller if she had been abusing him or if Bodine had, she lashed out and threatened that he would never see the boy again, he claimed.  He told police about it and they tried to contact Miller and Bodine at their home but there was no answer, it is claimed.

Family spokesperson Shayla Johnston said in December that the child protection system failed the boy, who was the grandson of former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, a Democratic candidate for Kansas governor.  Records that DCF released to The Wichita Eagle [newspaper] in March showed that for more than a year, people reported to the state that Evan was suffering in a home of chronic methamphetamine users.  The records also said Bodine abused Miller and bragged about choking her and the boy until they were unconscious.

Among those who spoke Thursday was Evan’s father, Carlo Brewer, who was kept from his son by Bodine and Miller in the weeks before the boy’s death.  “The day Evan was found, I was in disbelief and denial. I thought there was no possible way that anyone, even the worst individuals, could look into his beautiful, innocent eyes and harm him. I didn’t believe that a mother was harming or allowing someone to harm their child,” Carlo said. “The individual who gave birth to this child betrayed him, and was his predator.”

‘Simply put, the system is broken,’ the former Wichita mayor said in April in a statement. ‘And our children, the ones we should be protecting the most, are suffering.’

“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.  

“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 [Kirby] 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.”