Dad goes public to cope with son's trauma

Kevin Brewer deals with the horror of knowing his son was viciously beaten and molested by picking up paintbrushes and creating signs calling for child abuse awareness.

Brewer is the father of Cayden, the 19-month-old boy who was hospitalized last month after he was found unresponsive at a home on South Columbus Avenue.

Police believe the boy was severely beaten and sexually assaulted by Matthew Karl Hyrup, 27, on Feb. 23. Hyrup is the boy's stepfather.

Cayden had been in Hyrup's care while the child's mother left for a couple of hours, police said.

The mother called 9-1-1 when she returned and discovered the injuries. She and Hyrup were married just weeks before the incident, police said.

Brewer, 25, said Cayden has been released from the hospital but continues to suffer from the attacks.

"He has problems with his arm and is failing hearing tests," Brewer said. "He might recover from the physical damage, but he might always have memories of what happened, even though he's so young."

Cayden has been placed in the care of his maternal grandparents. Brewer, who has been estranged from Cayden and his ex-wife for a year, said he hopes to gain custody of his son in the near future.

Brewer said he is obeying a restraining order placed against him by Cayden's mother. Brewer was charged with domestic violence after fighting with the woman last year.

They divorced soon after, he said.

"I fully admit to the domestic violence charge," Brewer said. "I wish it hadn't happened, but it did. Now I'm concerned about my son and what happened to him."

Brewer has organized a Facebook page dedicated to Cayden and raising awareness about child abuse. Close to 1,000 people have subscribed to the page titled "Pray for Cayden."

He also mobilized a gathering Friday on Vogel Plaza in Medford, where signs were displayed calling for an end to child abuse. The signs featured paintings and photo collages showing Cayden in happier times.

"This is how I deal with the stress," Brewer said. "I grab a paintbrush."

Meanwhile, Hyrup remains in the Jackson Count Jail on Measure 11 charges that include first-degree assault, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration and first-degree sodomy. He is being held on $1 million bail.

Jackson County Circuit Court records show Hyrup has been convicted of multiple felony methamphetamine delivery and possession charges, as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm, driving under the influence of intoxicants, and driving with a suspended license.

Hyrup was among a string of victims, according to court records, who were sexually abused by Daniel Paul Zeman in the 1990s and 2000s. Zeman, now 72, befriended youths at local motocross events, invited them to his east Medford home and chaperoned them on out-of-town trips.

Brewer said the fact that Hyrup was molested as a child does not excuse his actions, if in fact the charges are proven in court.

Brewer said several people on the Facebook page have written threatening messages toward Hyrup. He deletes these messages as they appear.

"I read people who say that (Hyrup) should be raped or killed," Brewer said. "I say let God and the courts do their job. I don't think being a vigilante will solve anything."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email

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