Files on Christian Choate's death released

2011-06-20T15:40:00Z 2011-06-20T22:40:16Z Files on Christian Choate's death releasedBy Marisa Kwiatkowski marisa.kwiatkowski@nwi.com, (219) 662-5333 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | The Indiana Department of Child Services has given its preliminary report on 13-year-old Christian Choate's death to Lake Juvenile Court officials — a step required before making the information public, a DCS spokeswoman said Monday.

Lake Juvenile Court Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura's office has 30 days to redact certain identifying information from the report before it becomes available to the general public, according to Indiana law.

The report includes all DCS records relating to the boy and family.

Typically, a child fatality report also would include police, medical, coroner and autopsy records, but that type of report takes longer to complete. The report provided to Bonaventura's office only includes DCS records.

DCS spokeswoman Ann Houseworth said officials decided to expedite the release of DCS records because of the public interest and the nature of the boy's death. The rest of the records will be released later.

Court documents allege the boy was beaten for several years and kept in a cage for as long as a year before his death in early 2009. His disappearance went unreported until May 2011, when a tip prompted police to investigate.

Houseworth said Monday she is unable to comment on what DCS records show about the circumstances leading up to Christian's death. She said the records are confidential until certain identifying information is redacted.

Houseworth said the DCS investigation into Christian's death remains ongoing.

"This report is merely a snapshot of the assessment at this time," she said.

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