Christian Choate's body was found in a shallow grave after he'd gone missing for two years. His father, Riley Choate (top right) and step-mother, Kimberly Leona Kubina, have been charged with murder.
A Gary, Ind., couple was ordered held without bail for allegedly abusing and murdering Choate's 13-year-old son.
Riley Lowell Choate, 39, and Kimberly Leona Kubina, 45, appeared in court Wednesday morning after being charged with murder, battery, neglect of a dependent and criminal confinement for keeping the boy in a dog cage secured with seven locks.
While standing together in court, Choate whispered "I love you" twice to an agitated Kubina. Choate told the judge he had secured an attorney and that his education ended at ninth grade. Kubina said she completed 11th grade.
Christian Choate's body was uncovered by Indiana police last week behind his deceased grandmother's mobile home in Gary. The boy was found buried in a shallow grave under concrete and lime, wrapped in plastic and a blanket.
On Thursday Riley Choate was charged with covering up the death. He admitted last week that he'd wrapped the body of his son in plastic and covered the body with concrete. He denied killing him, however.
For two years, Riley Choate told neighbors and relatives his son had run away. Christian Choate was never officially reported missing, and his biological mother, who was denied custody several years ago, reportedly never knew her son was dead.
Last week, Christian Choate's sister, Christina, broke her silence about her brother's death and abuse. She called her stepsister, Alyssa Nieto, 18, who notified adults about where the boy was buried.
Christina Choate told Nieto, 18, that she witnessed her brother being beaten for years after her father got custody of them. She said her father kept him in a locked dog cage at night because he kept trying to escape the abuse.
"She kept it a secret," Nieto said, "because she was scared that the same thing was going to happen to her."
Choate's next court date is May 17. Kubina is due in court at 8:45 a.m. on May 19.