Mother Shocked to Learn Son Dead for 2 Years

Christian Choate's body found in cement grave after going missing in 2009

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Christian Choate's body found in cement grave after going missing in 2009. (Published Thursday, May 5, 2011)

    The biological mother of a 13-year-old boy whose body was found in a cement grave this week assumed her son was alive. The woman's current husband said the boy was believed to be living in Indiana with his father or in Kentucky with his sister.

    The current husband, who preferred to remain unidentified, said the mother is "very emotional" and had "nothing" to do with the death of Christian Choate.

    Lake County, Ind., deputies on Wednesday uncovered the body of the teen in Gary behind his deceased grandmother's mobile home. He was buried in a shallow grave under concrete and lime, wrapped in plastic and a blanket.

    Choate's father, 39-year-old Riley Choate, was charged Thursday with covering up the death, including removal of a body from a death scene, failure to notify about a body at a death scene and failure to report discovery of a body. Authorities said he has an "extensive" criminal record, including battery and harassment convictions.

    Riley Choate was arrested earlier this week and brought in for questioning regarding an outstanding larceny warrant in Kentucky. During questioning, authorities said Choate broke down. 

    It was Choate who led investigators to where his son's body was buried. Cadaver dogs had no luck finding a scent of the body, but the grave was finally exposed after a difficult excavation of the concrete under a backyard shed.

    The boy was never officially reported missing two years ago, investigators said. Instead, Riley Choate just told neighbors and relatives at the time that the boy "ran away."

    The boy's biological mother six years ago had given up custody of him and his now 17-year-old sister. The mother on Sunday night called 911 to report information given to her from relatives in Hopkinsville, Ky., where the biological sister now lives, that her son had been murdered and buried in the yard, officials said.

    Riley Choate's live-in girlfriend at the time of the boy's death, 45-year-old Kimberly Choate, is in custody in Kentucky on an outstanding theft warrant in that state. Lake County detectives are en route to Hopkinsville for "futher investigation," including questioning the boy's sister.

    Sheriff John Buncich called the discovery of the body "gruesome," and he said the crime would never have been solved without the tip.

    Riley Choate denied he killed his son but admitted to burying him with a Bible on his chest, investigators said.


    Riley Choate