Kansas gubernatorial candidate speaks out about grandson's tragic death

Wants child safety to be a top priority
Posted at 6:36 PM, Oct 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-23 19:36:22-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's been more than a month since the remains of Carl Brewer's grandson were found in concrete at a home in Wichita.

On Monday, the gubernatorial candidate and previous mayor of Wichita sat down with the 41 Action News investigators to talk about the issues he'd like to address while running for office.

His top priority: The safety of children.

"I will do everything in my power to make sure no other family or no other child will ever have to experience the same thing I've had to experience," Brewer said.

Evan Brewer was just 3 years old the day investigators found his remains at the home where he lived with his mom and her boyfriend.

The couple is in jail on charges unrelated to Evan's death.

Police are still investigating how Evan died.

Last month, 41 Action News revealed court records that showed Evan's father filed a protection from abuse order against Evan's mom and her boyfriend, stating the boyfriend would beat Evan "to the brink of death."

Brewer said, since getting back on the campaign trail, he's heard stories from other families who've experienced similar tragedies.

"It's almost as if you're reliving that experience all over again," Brewer said.

Now, Brewer said protecting children has become a passion.

Court records show Department for Children and Families was contacted that Evan may have been in danger in the days leading up to his death.

Evan's file with DCF is sealed, due to the pending investigation, so it's not known to what extent the agency was involved.

Brewer said he's waiting until all of the information comes out before he comments any further on his family's case.

Still, he thinks more should be done in Kansas when it comes to protecting children.

"We, as a system, are failing our most vulnerable," he said. "If we have employees and people in key positions that are not doing their jobs then we need to address them. We need to hold them accountable."

The death of Adrian Jones

DCF recently came under scrutiny following the death of Adrian Jones, 7, whose remains were found in a livestock pen at his family's Kansas City, Kansas, home in 2015. 

Jones's records remained sealed for nearly two years. 

Once the records became available, it revealed both DCF and Missouri Department of Social Services documented Adrian's abuse.

"I don't know where things have broken down," Brewer said. "We have to have skilled -- we have to have trained individuals that are responsible for keeping an eye on our children."

Other key focuses

While Brewer expressed the safety of children is a top priority, he also said he'd like to make changes to the state's tax plan and work with local governments.

"I'm a firm believer in that state government should be a resource for local government because they're the ones right there on the ground," Brewer said. 

Brewer also wants to focus on education.

"We must do everything in our power to invest in our most prized possession, and that's our children," Brewer said. "We need to invest in our K-12 to make sure those children have the best education they could possibly have."