A Kansas woman and her boyfriend have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of her 3-year-old son, whose body was found encased in concrete.
Miranda Miller, 36, and Stephen Bodine, 40, were charged Dec. 6, two days after they were booked on suspicion of murder, according to The Associated Press. Miller and Bodine were already in jail on previous charges.
The body of Miller's son, Evan Brewer, was found on Sep. 2, about three months after the boy had last been seen, according to The Wichita Eagle. The boy's body was found in a concrete form in the laundry room of the house Miller and Bodine rented before their arrest. While cleaning the house, the couple's former landlord noticed a smell coming from the form and alerted police.
"Although we will never get over the loss of Evan we are extremely relieved to see these charges," Sara Kirby, Evan's stepmother, said, according to KWCH.
Before his death, Evan had been at the center of a custody battle between Miller and Carlo Brewer, the boy's father.
Brewer had tried for more than a year to gain custody of his son, according to CBS News. He filed four complaints against Miller, alleging she and Bodine abused Evan.
During an incident in August, Brewer and Kirby went to the house looking for Evan. Kirby captured video of Bodine threatening them with a hatchet and slashing one of their tires.
Police were called to the house that night, but did not arrest Bodine for more than two weeks; they also did not take the opportunity to search the house to check on Evan's welfare, according to The Wichita Eagle. It is unclear if Evan was still alive at the time.
Bodine was later charged with aggravated assault and criminal damage for threatening Brewer and Kirby with the hatchet. Miller was also charged with aggravated interference with parental custody.
Evan's grandfather, former Wichita mayor and Kansas gubernatorial candidate Carl Brewer, issued a statement calling for justice.
"I am grateful to the men and women who worked to investigate Evan's death and those who will prosecute the case," he wrote, according to KWCH. "We have hope the trial will bring justice for Evan and begin healing for our family."
Shayla Johnston, the Brewer family attorney, also issued a statement: "We also thank the Wichita community for the continued support and love shown to Carlo, Sara and their other four children," she wrote, according to KWCH. "Please understand our silence during the remainder of this holiday season as they prepare for a funeral and a Christmas without Evan."