Dad Charged After Son’s Body Uncovered In Gary Trailer Park

UPDATED 05/05/11 10:00 p.m.

GARY, Ind. (CBS) — Police say additional charges are expected soon in the death of 13-year-old Christian Choate, whose body was found buried in a shallow grave, encased in concrete, near a mobile home park in Gary last night.

He has been missing for at least two years

His father, Riley Lowell Choate, has been charged with several crimes, including failing to report the boy’s death, but not murder, Lake County, Ind., authorities said.

As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, an autopsy was performed Thursday morning and the death has been ruled a homicide, but the specific cause of death was not being released until the investigation is completed. DNA testing is also taking place.

Lake County, Ind., Sheriff’s police say an anonymous tip from an out-of-state caller tipped them off to the boy’s body, which was found Wednesday in the Colfax Mobile Home Park, in the 5900 block of West 36th Avenue.

“It was a very gruesome scene out there yesterday when the boy’s body was uncovered,” Sheriff John Buncich said.

The caller told police the boy had been missing under “mysterious circumstances,” and had been killed and buried.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

After the call Sunday that led police to the trailer park, Riley Lowell Choate was arrested and led police to the body, according to Bunchich.

“He advised he had buried the youth, wrapped him in a blanket and plastic and buried him in a shallow grave underneath the shed and put concrete on top of the body. He also indicated at the time, he put a Bible on the boy’s chest when he buried him,” Buncich said. “He also put lime on top of the body hoping to aid in the decomposition.”

County crime lab technicians worked for hours to break up about 2 feet of concrete to locate the body.

So far, Choate has been charged with removing a body from a death scene and failure to notify authorities of a dead body.

Choate told police he had an accomplice.

He had taken custody of Christian and his sister six years ago from their biological mother, who had given them up.

Police said Christian’s mother called 911 after speaking with a person in Kentucky, where Choate had moved. That person said Christian had never run away, as Choate had always maintained.

Instead, the teen had been murdered and buried at the mobile home park where his family once lived.

At the trailer park Thursday, neighbors said the boy’s family had moved to Kentucky two years ago. The family now living in the home where the boy’s family once lived said they did not want to be bothered, and wanted to be left alone.

Other neighbors said police were seen around the mobile home park all day Wednesday.

“I have kid; everybody in here has kids, and to think about something like that is unbelievable,” one woman said. “So many people in and out of that shed that the baby was under. He’s just 13 years old; still a baby.”

Buncich said additional details would be available after charges are filed. “We have some other people out of state we need to talk to,” he said.

Lake County Sheriff’s detectives left for Hopkinsville, Kentucky to question the teen’s relatives on Thursday.

The ex-boyfriend of Christian’s mother, Daniel Nieto, and his daughter, Alyssa, lived with the young man in his formative years and considered him a family member. Alyssa says she tried to contact Christian in recent years but was told, “No, you can’t see him.”

Daniel Nieto says Christian endured abuse at the hands of his parents.

The boy’s mom is in jail in Kentucky in an unrelated case.

  • Kathleen

    What a Sick Society we are to kill our young & throw them away, like so much garbage! May he rest in peace & may the guilty person Never have a moments peace! Think about it people….You bury the family bird, goldfish, or what ever in the back yard…Not your children, You Psycho!

  • Vinay Thatsall

    funny this kids dna will take weeks to months when osamas was done within an hour.

    • Ginger Rogue

      What so funny? Results of a basic DNA test can be gotten very quickly with good/fresh samples and a request from the President of the United States.

      It takes weeks/month in a regular case because there’s a backlog at most criminal labs. Not because the test itself takes that long.

      • Jen

        you don’t know what you are talking about GInger….I’m a forensic scientist, Vinay is 100% correct….

      • J

        Jen, you don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m a senior Forensic Scientist, Ginger is correct.

      • Cheryl

        Well,this is so sad. But since we’re on the subject…dont you have to have something to compare to get a DNA sample. What did they compare Osama’s to???

  • the boss

    You would actually compare the speed it took to sample dna between a mastermind killer who left thousands dead to a blood sample on a kid who was murdered? Bunch of morons!

  • unknown

    here we go again, another story that has everything to do with a poor il boy who was missing and some dunce has to make it about politics…may this boy rip.

  • Wally

    What kind of example we are ginving to our children. They see all of this on TV and then act accordingly. Please, parents treat your children with care and love. Talk to them and love them. But please do not kill them because they made a mistake or got a bad grade at school. Remember that God loves the little children… all the children of the the world and He is watching all of them carefully. If you do not want a child in your your … then put them for adoption. There are lots of people who want to have a child of any age.

  • Taxpayer 2

    Some people need help. The mind is a terrible thing to waste. Maybe the pressures of this world to some have a bad affect on their mind. But if he is guilty of this crime, then the death penalty will be his fate.

    May God bless him.

  • Lyndia

    Since Daniel knew that the chid was being abused, why didn’t he call the police years ago? People like him make me sick.

  • his mother's family

    To be clear The child’s mother never abused him!!!! He was in the custody of his father and step mom when he died. His mom had nothing to do with this and is devastated that after 6 years of not knowing where her children where, she was told her son had died. It drives me nuts that the media can’t get the story right!!!

  • his mother's family

    The boys mom is not in jail they are referring to the step mom.

  • his mother's family

    Also neither Daniel or anyone else on the mother’s side of the family knew of any abuse until this week. They had no contact with those kids for the last 6 years.

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  • Sherryjane Cooke

    Why did poor little Christain’s biological mother or Daniel or Allyssa not demand to see him?? After six years??? These people are monsters, including the stepmom who helped bury that precious child! Christian is now in the arms of God, safe from the pain, abuse and terror. If I were his mom, I would never have taken the “you can’t see him” as an excuse.As an abused child myself, I can understand the sister’s fear of contacting authorities, but upon Christian’s death, I would have shouted it to any adult who would listen!! I do not know what the full extent of the law is in Gary and why is his father, Riley Lowell Choate, has been charged with several crimes, including failing to report the boy’s death, but not murder??? His skull was crushed and his body buried by these people and held secret for years…. murder? Of course, why else would it not be reported??? There are special places in Hell for these people… and I pray only for Christian…the innocent. May God show the truth in this crime and may the people who knew and are responsible suffer the full wrath of our Lord.

  • Renata Lynn Wheeler

    You also have to take in the fact that his father took custody of him. With some custody cases they do not allow the children to see their parents. So it could have been the law preventing this boys mother to see him. You also have to remember that Alyssa said she thought that the boy moved. So the people who didn’t demand to see him had no idea. It was obviously concealed quite well, those people aren’t monsters. Now his father and the stepmother deserve the same treatment for all I care. You never abuse a child, that’s just sick and wrong, it’s beyond words and the sister was threatened. When a child is threatened, you can’t just sit there and expect her to say anything. I’m sure she wanted to tell but was afraid of her father. You have to take in the facts and consider what may have happened.

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