The Indiana couple accused of severely abusing and murdering 13-year-old Christian Choate is filing for divorce, and will head to court for a hearing Dec. 20.
The Northwest Indiana Times reports Riley Choate, 39, filed for a divorce from his wife, Kimberly Kubina, 45, on Aug. 5, without an attorney. The couple is currently being held without bond in the Lake County Jail and have a bail hearing scheduled for Sept. 8. They have been charged with murder, battery, neglect of a dependent, confinement, obstruction of justice, moving a body from a death scene and failure to notify authorities of a dead body. They have both pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Young Christian Choate's body was found buried under a thin layer of concrete on May near the couple's former home in a mobile home park in Gary, Indiana. The boy is believed to have died in April of 2009, after being kept locked in a three-foot-high dog cage for most of the last year of his life, according to his sister Christina. According to Christina, he was only let out of the cage to eat and use the bathroom. His stepmother, Kubina, took him out of school and said he was being homeschooled. His sister was reportedly moved to Kentucky by her father, Riley, and sworn to secrecy about what she witnessed.
The Indiana Department of Child Services reportedly visited with the Choate family more than a dozen times beginning in 1999, following up on multiple allegations of abuse and neglect in the home -- but they never acted on or knew of the severity of the alleged abuse. According to a DSC report, Kubina "homeschooled" Christian by giving him paper and telling him to write -- sometimes giving him assignments including, "Why do you still want to see your mom? Why can't you let the past go? What does it mean to be part of a family?" Christian often described that he was hungry or thirsty -- his writings "detail a very sad, depressed child."
Others -- more than a dozen -- besides his sister reportedly had at least some knowledge of Christian's abuse but did not report it to authorities out of either apathy, uncertainty or fear of retribution. His pediatrician, Dr. Leticia Chy-Koa, was allegedly told by Christian that he was being locked in his home at night and she even wrote in her notes that he was soiling himself. She never contacted DCS.
The original autopsy of Christian's body determined his cause of death to be blunt force trauma which caused internal bleeding and a skull fracture. Judge Diane Boswell denied the accused couple's defense attorney's request for a second autopsy in July, shortly after she issued a gag order preventing DCS from publicly addressing the case.