After two years of silence, a scared Christina Choate called her stepsister to tell of how her brother died. Her stepsister, Alyssa Nieto, notified other adults.
A Gary, Ind., father was charged Tuesday with neglecting, beating and murdering his son.
Riley Choate, 39, was held on $50,000 bail last week after Lake County, Ind., deputies on Wednesday uncovered Christian Choate's body behind his deceased grandmother's mobile home in Gary. Christian Choate was found buried in a shallow grave under concrete and lime, wrapped in plastic and a blanket.
On Tuesday, Choate and his wife, Kimberly Leona Kubina, were charged with "knowingly or intentionally" killing Christian Choate. They were also charged with battery, neglect of a dependent and criminal confinement for keeping the boy in a dog cage secured with seven locks.
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.
For two years, Choate told neighbors and relatives his son had run away, but Christina Choate knew the truth.
"She kept it a secret," Nieto said, "because she was scared that the same thing was going to happen to her."
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.
The night before he died, Christina Choate told Nieto that Christian Choate was too weak to eat, but his father insisted. He tried eating but threw it up, so Riley Choate beat him until the boy went limp.
"She said that he always got beat, but this time Riley didn't stop," Nieto said. "He kept going and kept going."
The next day, after Riley Choate went to a parent-teacher conference, Christina unlocked the cage and tried to get Christian out, but he didn't move. She tried reviving her brother, but it was too late.
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.
An affidavit describes how Christian Choate had been chained to a bed frame and punched several times in the front, side and back of the head. It also includes explanations of how other siblings were forced to take care of him while he was caged and even beat him for the parents.
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