CROWN POINT, Ind. (CBS) — Bond was denied Wednesday for the father and stepmother of a 13-year-old boy who was kept in a dog cage for more than a year, then buried under a slab of concrete in a trailer park after he died.
Riley Choate, 34, and his wife, Kimberly Kubina – also known as Kimberly Choate – were ordered held without bond when they appeared in Lake County, Ind., court Wednesday.
They are charged with the murder of Christian Choate, 13, whose body was found encased under a slab of concrete at the Colfax Mobile Home Park in Gary, Ind., last week.
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.
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 trailer 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.
Christian’s sister told prosecutors she was the only one responsible for looking after the boy, and was forced to beat him while recording a video of her actions at Kimberly Choate’s direction.
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. The following day, the boy’s sister discovered him 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. Riley Choate said he put a Bible and a cross on the deceased Christian’s chest over the bags before burying him, prosecutors said.
Riley Choate’s next court appearance is at 8:45 a.m. May 17, while Kimberly Choate next appears in court at 8:45 a.m. May 19.