CROWN POINT | A gag order was issued Thursday afternoon in the criminal case relating to 13-year-old Christian Choate's death, a state official said Thursday.
Ann Houseworth, spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Child Services, said the order was issued after a closed-door hearing held just before a DCS news conference was scheduled to begin.
A source with knowledge of the case said officials from the Lake County prosecutor's office intercepted DCS officials before they came into the auditorium to speak to media and they, along with other attorneys involved in the case, met in a judge's chambers.
The gag order prevents officials from discussing anything relating to Christian's death or the pending criminal case against his father and stepmother.
Court documents allege Christian 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.
The boy's father and stepmother, Riley Choate and Kimberly Kubina Choate, face myriad charges relating to Christian's death, including murder, felony counts of battery, confinement and removing a body from a death scene or altering a death scene, three felony counts of obstruction of justice and three felony counts of neglect of a dependent, Lake Criminal Court records show.
DCS records released last week revealed a history of alleged abuse and neglect by adults who were supposed to be protecting Christian.