Dad, Stepmother Charged With Boy’s Murder In Trailer Park

UPDATED 05/10/11 12:37 a.m.

GARY, Ind. (CBS/WBBM) — The father and stepmother of a 13-year-old boy whose body was found in a Gary, Ind., trailer park last week have now been charged with the boy’s murder.

Riley Choate, 34, and his wife, Kimberly Choate, are charged with the murder of Christian Choate, 13, whose body was found encased under a slab of concrete last week. CBS 2’s Pamela Jones gets reactions from neighbors of the family.

Previously, Riley Choate had only been charged with removing a body from a death scene and failure to notify authorities of a dead body, but not with homicide or anything directly related to the boy’s death.

Investigators were tipped off to Christian’s death by Christian’s mother, Aimee Estrada, who said her daughter came to her on May 1 with information about the location of Christian’s body.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The daughter later told investigators that her brother died around April 5, 2009, and that Riley and Kimberly Choate buried Christian behind a home in the 5900 block of West 36th Avenue in Gary on April 8, in the Colfax Mobile Home Park where they had lived before moving to Kentucky, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Lake County court on Tuesday.

Following an investigation, Lake County, Ind., authorities found out further that Christian had been kept in a dog cage secured with seven locks for more than a year by the time he died. The dog cage was in Riley Choate’s bedroom.

Christian’s cousin told prosecutors Kimberly had been hitting Christian regularly for some years before she started tying him to a bed frame. Then she started putting Christian in the dog cage, which had been given to the family for their dog, the cousin told prosecutors.

The other children in the house would try to sneak food to Christian, but Kimberly would yell at them and advise them: “He needs to be locked up. He’s a dog.”

Riley And Kimberly Choate

Riley and Kimberly Choate are now charged with the murder of Riley's son, Christian, in 2009. (Credit: Lake County, Ind., Sheriff's Office)

Christian’s sister told prosecutors she was the only one responsible for looking after Christian, including feeding him, taking him to the bathroom, forcing him to do exercises, and physically punishing. She said if she failed to perform these duties, Riley Choate would beat her.

The sister, identified in published reports as Christina Choate, said she believes Christian was kept cage to make sure the boy didn’t tell his biological mother that he was being physically abused. Christian often ran off and tried to make contact with his mother, prosecutors said.

Christian’s sister was ordered to chain the boy to a bed frame on the ground, so she chained Christian’s hands and feet, and hit and him and choked him until he turned blue while recording a video of her actions at Kimberly Choate’s direction, prosecutors said.

The cousin also said she saw Christian’s sister beating him and videotaping the act at Kimberly’s order, and the other children had to watch because they were forbidden from leaving the room.

On April 4, 2009, Christian refused to eat. Prosecutors said Riley got angry and punched him several times in the head before throwing him back in the cage. He then ordered his daughter to check on Christian every five minutes, or he would beat her too, prosecutors said.

The girl followed orders, and on April 5, she checked on Christian as instructed and tried to feed him some cocoa wheats – slapping him when he refused. Soon, she noticed Christian wasn’t breathing, and they opened the cage and attempted CPR with an air pump.

But she later discovered Christian was dead.

The girl said she saw Riley and Kimberly Choate wrap Christian’s body in a two plastic garbage bags and load it into a plastic tote, then haul it off in their van along with several other totes, prosecutors said. Other witness accounts said the girl was ordered to help wrap Christian’s body and duct tape the bags.

Riley Choate allegedly said to his daughter, “If you say anything, I swear to God, I’ll kill you and I’ll bury you with your brother.”

Riley and Kimberly Choate first drove the body to Christina and Christian’s grandmother’s home down the block in the trailer park, and dropped the body off there, prosecutors alleged.

Three days later, the girl saw her father and stepmother covered in mud, and Kimberly Choate said Christian was buried behind the woods behind the grandmother’s home and was “covered in concrete so he couldn’t get out.” The couple had tried to bury him under a shed, but the floor was too hard to break out, prosecutors said.

Christina Choate told the Northwest Indiana Times that her father wrapped her brother’s body in plastic, drove his body across the street and buried him under lime, dirt and concrete. She says she hopes her father is never free again.

Riley Choate admitted that he received a call from his daughter saying Christian was dead, and found the boy lying on his back on a baby mattress in the girl’s bedroom, prosecutors said.

He told investigators: “If I had to do it over, I’d have just called. But I was freaking out.”

He said he put a Bible and a cross on the deceased Christian’s chest over the bags before burying him, prosecutors said.

Riley Choate had taken custody of Christian and Christina six years ago from Estrada, who had given them up.

An autopsy last week ruled Christian’s death a homicide, but the specific cause of death was not being released until the investigation is completed.

Christina Choate has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

  • Pothead

    Any story like this, involving children is very hard for me to read.
    I hope this bass turd suffers in prison for a long long time.

  • Pothead

    Good morning ITISWHATITIS , Where did you go fishing ? Any luck ?


      Morning Pothead,I drove down South to the Kankakee River to drown my worms. The only thing I caught was a cold. And I almost caught a speeding ticket on I-57 coming back home,but the Cobra saved me. The wind off the water was really cold and brisk,and Smokey was just doing his job.

  • Costellah

    This is really horrible. How could a parent put a child in a dog cage. Unbelieveable story… and the boy is dead now? Where are the relatives to look out for him too. Aunts, causins, grand mo and grand paw. No one to se what is going on? And tha pastor or priest who should be praying for this little boy? We all hope this child in heaven above. He suffered so much on earth he desrves to be happy over yonder where there is no begining or end. May God have mercy on the souls of the ones who did that to this child.

    • eddie

      i hope God have no mercy on their soul, and hope He embrace that little boy and show him the love that he always wish he could have.

    • joey

      Stop talking about mercy – these two criminals deserve death penalty. Look at their faces – all you see is evil. These low life degenerates did not have a little mercy on a poor dying boy’s soul. should not call them humans because they don’t deserve the title human – they are evil animal like hyena – wait even hyenas have consciousness to not kill their own child. These are just monsters. two word – llife for life – Death Penalty. Interestingly very few other countries have this kind of issues.

  • SRS

    I agree!! What kind of mother just abandon her kids?! I could NEVER think of doing anyhting like that! And what kind of father beats his children?! I swear the WRONG people have children while the RIGHT people who can LOVE and CARE for children cannot have children! What the heck is wrong with people?! I’mjussayin’

    • Bert

      @NWA, Are you a moron, making a comment like that?

    • NWA

      A meth-head?


    • geneva

      he is very .evil and will burn in hell for ever and ever.wake up america and see the things happing around us.come back to god, if not we will see and hear of more.

  • Poetic Justice

    I wish I could watch this sick bast-ard’s tormented face as he cries out in pain as he’s burning in hell.

    Until then, I’ll have to settle with this a$$hole being targetd physically and sexually for the rest of his life in prison.

    I hope some hard a$$ homies go to work on him for the next 30 or so years.


      Just curious Sir,Does NWA stand for no white ass? Or is it for no wife again? Please advise as soon as possible,I’m dieing to understand where you are coming from.

    • NWA


      You got it right the first time. Don’t be foolish you know what it means.



      Does that moniker then denote you are a racist? I’m not trying to be smug,okay maybe just a little,I just can’t get a handle on where your coming from,or where you hope to go.

    • theJackal

      Your ignorance is only overshadowed by your hatered. Actually moron, skinheads and Nazis don’t control the prisons the Aryan Brotherhood does, they are not the same thing. Do you know what the AB does to child molesters and kid killers, they bleed them out real slow! This guy WILL die in prison and it won’t be easy, God willing.

    • Kit

      Poetic Justice…. your comment of, “I hope some hard a$$ homies go to work on him for the next 30 or so years,” is right on point!! I personally think he’ll be meeting up with BUBBA. You know,…. that extremely large, yet kind, soul down the hall to the right? Such a nice boy.

  • Mike

    The father will get off.

    This judicial system is insulting to the everyday citizens like us who obey the laws.

    The father should be strung up by his fingers in the middle of a city and allow people to come by and do whatevery they like to him.


    • Gregory Lewis


  • Gregory Lewis


  • theJackal

    The kid looks just like my 10 year old, this one hits home hard. These pathetic maggots need to be punished BIG TIME. Anyone beating a kid needs to be destroyed.

  • Joe

    He put a bible on his chest. what you want to beat that this people who killed this kid were pro-lifer and if not.
    I want a pro-lifer bible thumper tell how is better to bring this 2 kids to the world than to terminate their pregnancies.

    • Tbal

      wow, what reasoning.

    • Really though?

      umm…..the hell does being pro-life have to do with this

  • ZagYee

    I sure hope these losers will get everything they have coming to them! So sad.


    My God,They attempted CPR with an air pump? People with an IQ such as this group need to all be sterilized so they will stop reproducing. Death and the most common forms of torture are way to easy and unjust for this so called father,mother,and stepmother. Rest in peace little guy,your pain and suffering is over,but what a shame you had to endure what was thrust upon you in your short and night mare filled life.

    • Lazarus


  • Dean

    These two pieces of white trash should be forced to dig a 25 foot hole, jump inside it, then have it filled with concrete. But then again they dont even deserve to be buried in the ground and should be thrown into the water with weights attached to thier feet.

  • LadyAnn

    This story brought tears to my eyes and a memory that I will soon not forget. So sad, he was punished, beaten and starved and kept in a cage, why? May the father and mother spend the rest of their life, which I hope will end in a very miserable way. One question I have – was the father and stepmother brother and sister? Animals, not that is too good a word for them. They are the vermin in a swamp.

  • Southside

    How can any decent human being be against the death penalty iin a case like this?

    • Lazarus

      For the same reason that if somebody rapes your love ones (wife, daughter, etc) you don’t turn around and rape their family.
      The depravity of their ways is not excuse to bring you down at their inhuman levels, when things like this happen is a good time to remember that we’re better than them.
      With that said, I totally understand what you’re saying

  • Lisa

    I believe in an eye for an eye. What happened to that little boy is disgusting and should never happen to a child!! Makes me so sad to think that there are people out there that do things like that!!

  • Katie

    This is such a sad story. I hope the Law Works… They need to never come out of jail. The daugher will be scared forever. God hold her had and guide her throught life. Show her Love is out there. Help her get the help she needs and find herself within herself.
    I have 3 dogs, I NEVER even put them in a cage, how can anyone do this to anyone, a child for sakes….. OMG this discusses me.

  • Parents Gone Wild! Riley and Kimberly Choate charged with killing son Christian and encasing his body in cement « Bonnie’s Blog of Crime

    […] Body Uncovered In Gary Trailer Park Dad charged after son’s body uncovered in Gary trailer park Dad, Stepmother Charged With Boy’s Murder In Trailer Park Indiana father charged with son’s murder Murder charges against dad, stepmom of Gary boy Gary […]

  • chicagoannie

    Every adult in Christian’s life let him down, from his mother and father to teachers and neighbors in that trailer park who KNEW something was wrong. And the sister should have told someone what was going on at her home. Poor kid….I would have taken him in and given him a good, loving home.

    I hope the dad and step-witch are murdered in prison.

  • Cristinne

    If you do not want your child… then give him or her up for adoption. Do not treat the child worst than an animal. We also have feelings and specially the children need parental protection. If step mothers and step fathers do not like their spouses children… then tell your spouse to set them up for adoption or some other relatioves will take care of them. God loves the little children… if God does that.. we should too. Even if we are a step parent. Please.. do not put children in cages.. they are not animals. Thank you.

  • melody

    I think the daughter should be charged as well. And the mother needs to be charged with neglect. She left her kids with a man that she said abused her.

    • Noreen Hernandez

      i think that the girl should get charged as well because she was old enough to know what she was doing. just like 12 yr olds who murder their family get charged as adults. i know she was trying to save her own life but what about her brother? he didn’t choose to get beaten up or anything. and the biological mother gave up her rights six years ago. im sure she probably had no idea that he would down the road beat him to death. i seriously hope that they rot in prison and burn in hell for this. this child had no reason whatsoever to get this kind of treatment. if you don’t want your children give them to someone who will love and care for them. i wish that someone would have tried harder to save him and not wait 2 years to do something about it.

  • Anthony Klimczak

    Where was God ? Ill tell you peoples dreams, because he/it or whatever…doesnt exist. my boy is 14 and his name is Christian. Who could allow this to happen to this beautiful boy ? oh…..yeah, God. its a fairy tale.

    • prince

      I see you question….and in times like this it seems hard to believe. BUT God is real. he gave man freedom of choice. to believe or not believe in him. THis is a true GODLESS act. But GOD will have his time with these evil people. Please know that there is a God. A real REAL God. And he loves you and he loved this boy.

      • Les

        “Please know that there is a God. A real REAL God. And he loves you and he loved this boy.”

        With this kind of “love” what does hatred look like ? Seriously…

      • Corri

        I will tell you I was never one to BELIEVE in God for reasons such as this but then I lost my grandmother and it killed me inside! I had no one to talk to or turn to because my husband is not sympathetic and neither are my parents so I turned to God! And I will tell you since that day I have noticed a DRASTIC change in my life! This boy must have believed in God and must have prayed to be helped and he was! God took him to heaven with him instead of leaving him there for this to continue! You have to understand that God doesnt do everything for us! He expects help also! There were soooo many people as witnesses who could have helped God to help this child to stay and be loved! But instead they stood there and let it happen! The problem with society these days are too many people “dont want to get involved”! Let me ask you this…If your child ended up with some kind of illness would you want prayers to strengthen that child and possibly save this childs life or would just sit there and do nothing? I was not brought up in a Christian family! We NEVER attended church! My family believed that God was fake and believed that the Bible was made up from a bunch of drunk guys just to see how many idiots would believe it! Well guess what…My mother has 4 kids with 3 different fathers, my uncle was so addicted to drugs that he thought he WAS Jesus, My other uncle tried to commit suicide because his wife left him and took his kids, another uncle has been on drugs his whole life and lost 2 of his kids because he chose to live in a car instead of getting a job and a home, my aunt is currently on drugs and living with my grandparents in 2 bedsrooms with 4 kids!, My parents are also STILL living with my grandparents, I could go on and on and do you know why? Because none of them pray and none of them want to believe in Jesus! My grandparents on the other have over come so much as far as illnesses and what not because they pray! My grandmother was VERY CLOSE to death due to cancer but she survived because she had my prayers! My grandfather had a massive stroke and came out fine because he had my prayers! I am telling you to try it out for a whole month! Pray every night for at least 10 minutes and thank Jesus for everything he has given you and ask him to help you with things that need changed in your life! See how different your life will be!

    • Southside

      All due respect, seriously, why name your son Christian?

  • Steph

    I said this once and I’ll say it again.

    Mental illness needs to be RECOGNIZED AND TREATED in this country!
    I’m not trying to defend the dad and the step mom, but they are clearly mentally ill.
    Most likely they were raised with abuse so they think this is right in their minds.
    Cycle of abuse keeps going and going,
    and we choose to ignore it.


    Also my heart goes out to the little boy.

    • Annette

      The cycle of abuse does not alway keep going. I was abused growing up but I never laid a hand on my kids in anger. They were never abused. I refused to let that cycle keep going. It IS a mentel illness but that does NOT excuse that fact that they did it knowingly. Don’t blame it on “the cycle” because that just NOT an excuse.

      I believe they shoiuld be punished and I do believe in the death penelty. Just saying who knows what’s too good for them and stuff. Just saying and putting my 2 cents in there. At least he does not have to suffer any more.

  • Gina

    I believe that th devil is living in that ‘man’ and that he intentionally mocked the name of Christ by namiing his kids that are derivatives of his name. No mercy for these animals. A knife to their cold, evil hearts.

  • prince

    I hope they feel the WRATH of god. I am so Disturbed to hear this about this precious child. I am SICK to my stomach. Please pray or do what ever you can to see the this DOESN’T happen to another kid. Damn I wanna cry right now. Those two will rot in Hell.

    • Taxpayer 2

      Satin children can not beat satin at all! He probably threw everything at these people like Job in the bible. And they could not take it and went off (crazy).

      We all have fallen short, because of sin. But some people seem to never realize what is going on. Because everything starts spiritual before physical.

      People try to do this all the time without God’s help. Don’t read the bible. Don’t go to church. Don’t have no relationship with God whatsoever. And at one way or another, you reap what you sow.

      These demon control people should get the death penalty. God bless them and God bless this world. Hopefully people all over will get themselves saved, before it is too late. Tomorrow is not promise to no one. Going to hell is promise to everyone who rejects Jesus Christ. All of us has sin at one time or another.

  • Rose

    I agree…. this story made me sick, I have two children and feel guilty when i punish them by sending them to their rooms. I remember another case like this, when the mother abused her children even having them kill one of the daughters for her. There have been comments made about stopping the cycle of violence, but I will tell you some people were not abused, some people are sociopaths who care about nothing else but what they want…this poor boy made the mistake of crossing this crazy pair and not doing as he was told. so sad… and yes they do need to be put in a dog cage and I can think of alot of worse things too.

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