Christian Choate's father Riley and his stepmother Kimberly Kubina were charged Tuesday with murder, battery, criminal confinement, and neglect of a dependent in the young boy's death. Kubina allegedly helped Riley Choate bury his son's body, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
On May 4, authorities investigating a mobile home park in Gary, Indiana made a harrowing discovery. Buried under a thin layer of concrete was the body of a 13-year-old boy, believed to be Christian Choate.
Choate apparently died in April of 2009, but according to his sister, threats from his abusive father Riley kept the boy's death a secret for more than two years.
Only when Riley left their home three weeks ago did Christian's sister feel safe enough to approach authorities about her brother's death. And the account she gives is nothing short of chilling.
According to Christina Choate, young Christian was kept locked in a dog cage for the last year of his life, CBS-2 reports. He was let out of the cage only to eat and use the bathroom, and to endure brutal beatings from his father, who apparently used the cage to keep him from running away.
The Northwest Indiana Times, which has been covering the story since it broke, writes that one day Christina found her brother unresponsive in his cage. She placed a finger under his nose and found he wasn't breathing.
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After she made the harrowing discovery, she scrambled to find the key to the Master Lock that kept her brother trapped. She pulled him out of the cage and put her ear to his chest desperately trying to find a heartbeat.
"I couldn't hear anything," she said.
Then, she asked for help from her stepsister, who in turn called adults for help.
As they waited for adults to come home, Christina Choate frantically tried to revive her brother. She pumped his chest and used an electric air pump to try to get him air.
"I kept thinking, 'Oh my God, my brother is dead,'" she said.
When Riley came home -- as he would later tell police -- he dug a two-foot grave for his son, and buried him in lime, dirt and concrete, placing a Bible on his chest.
After Christian's death, Christina says Riley moved her to Kentucky, where she wasn't allowed to go to school or talk on the phone, until three weeks ago when he moved back to Indiana without her.
According to a Chicago Tribune story on the investigation, it was the boy's biological mother who called police ten days ago inquiring about Christian. She had long been separated from Riley, but presumably after hearing from Christina, she began to worry about his fate.
Investigators were led quickly to Riley, who admitted to burying the boy and willingly led them to his makeshift grave. "If I had to do it over, I'd have just called (police)," Choate told authorities, according to the Tribune. "But I was freaking out."
He did not, however, admit to having anything to do with causing the boy's death.
An autopsy showed that Christian suffered blunt force trauma to his body, internal bleeding and a skull fracture, according to a separate Times story.
Riley Choate is currently being held on charges of removing a body from a death scene, a felony, and misdemeanor failure to notify authorities of a dead body, CBS writes.
More charges, however, are expected later Tuesday.