It’s been a rough week in the news business. I’m talking about the types of stories we’re covering. From a double murder of a Newton mother and her young daughter…the devastation from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, a hit and run just this morning and the worst story hanging over all our heads…the death of who police believe to be 3 year-old Evan Brewer, whose body was found encased in concrete in the home his mother and her boyfriend rented. I’m often asked – how do you deal with hearing so much bad news and having to find out the details and report them on the air? The first part to that answer involves the way we as journalists separate ourselves from the story. We take a straight down the middle approach, report the facts and continue on. We are exposed to so much ugliness that we’re desensitized which makes just reporting the facts simpler. The second part to that answer is, while we see so much bad….we often see more good. Tragedy is often what pulls people together. Tragedy is often what leads to life changes – hopefully for the better. From every awful story…if you wait long enough…comes some good.
This Evan Brewer story though….it gets me. It makes me sick and angry as I would guess it does many of you. To briefly explain…Evan went missing around March of this year and wasn’t seen for six months. Last weekend remains found encased in concrete were found in the home his mom and her boyfriend rented. They’re believed to be Evan. It will be a couple more weeks before DNA tests confirm a match. His mother and her boyfriend are currently in jail on charges of obstructing custody…but not yet charge with Evan’s murder. His father claims he tried every day for the past six months to find his son. Having a 2 year-old myself and a 3 year-old nephew, I know the sweet, loving and charming demeanor little boys have and to know that undeserving little boy was failed by everyone who was supposed to protect him, it makes me sick. While it’s easy to point fingers…we need to know who is responsible and why. Clearly our DCF system is broken. There are failures in our police system. His own mother and father failed him. And because of the way our justice system works no one will answer questions surrounding the case until the investigation is complete. I don’t necessarily have a solution, but there has to be a better way. Those of us in the newsroom are asking questions, but it will be a long process to find out what exactly happened and where exactly our systems failed. Children, no one for that matter, shouldn’t be unseen for six months only to be found dead in concrete. It makes me angry when kids pay the price for the bad decisions of “adults” around them. On a personal note, if I hadn’t heard from my child for 24 hours, let alone 6 months, I can guarantee you it would take less than a day for me to find out where they are. I wouldn’t eat, I wouldn’t sleep until I knew where he was.
So what can we do? I always hate when someone complains, but doesn’t offer a solution…which is basically what I’m doing here. I know how difficult it will be to change the system….so I prefer to focus on what I/we can do about it. We, sadly, can’t do anything for Evan. But we can do something for other at-risk kids. We can become a mentor, we can become a foster or adoptive parent. We can become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA volunteer). We can donate to organizations with the training to change these kids lives. And in the meantime, you can bet we’ll continue asking questions and trying to find out who’s responsible for what happened to Evan…so everyone can try their best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.