CHICAGO (CBS) — A report says more than 13 people might have known of abuse endured by a Gary, Ind., boy before his death but most said nothing to authorities.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Marsett reports, the Times of Munster, citing a review of Indiana Department of Child Services records, says only one adult claims to have taken her concerns about Christian Choate, 13, to legal authorities.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Marsett reports
Christian’s father, Riley Lowell Choate, 34, and stepmother, Kimberly Kubina 45, of the Black Oak section of Gary, are charged in Christian’s death. They have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, battery, neglect of a dependent, obstruction of justice, removal of a body from a death scene, failure to notify authorities of the discovery of a body and failure to report a body.
Investigators have said Christian was beaten for several years and kept in a cage for as long as a year before the boy’s death in early 2009.
His disappearance went unreported until Lake County police unearthed his body in May from in a shallow grave in the trailer park.
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.
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.