Sister of slain Gary teen Christian Choate back in Indiana

2011-06-01T22:00:00Z 2011-06-02T13:55:13Z Sister of slain Gary teen Christian Choate back in IndianaBy Lindsay Machak lindsay.machak@nwi.com, (219) 933-3246 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | After being abandoned by her father and notifying police about her brother Christian Choate's death, Christina Choate had no desire to return to Indiana from Kentucky, according to court documents obtained by The Times.

The 17-year-old girl previously had been living in Kentucky with a brother of her stepmother, Kimberly Kubina Choate, after her father, Riley Choate, left her there.

Riley Choate and Kimberly Kubina Choate, both formerly of Gary, each have been charged with numerous offenses including murder, battery and felony child neglect in connection with 13-year-old Christian's death.

Christina told officials in Kentucky she was happy and felt safe with her temporary guardian there, according to court documents from a May 19 hearing in Lake County. However, Christina's attorney Scott King said it was in her best interest to come back to Indiana to avoid facing possible charges in connection with her brother's murder.

During the Children In Need of Services hearing, King said he was trying to work out an agreement with the Lake County prosecutor's office to have Christina return to Indiana in exchange for immunity and testify as a witness in her father's pending case.

King said if she did not return to Indiana, there was a possibility she would be charged in connection with her brother's murder and be extradited to Indiana, according to the documents.

The documents indicate one of Christina's maternal aunts is seeking to be her guardian.

Christina was placed in the care of Kentucky child welfare services after the May 19 hearing and brought back to Indiana some time after that, Kentucky officials said.

Indiana's Department of Child Services was given 14 working days from May 19 to figure out who should get custody of Christina.

Christina's mother, Aimee Estrada, and Estrada's attorney filed an emergency motion May 13 for custody of Christina.

The motion was denied that same day on the grounds Estrada did not address why she was ordered to have only supervised contact with Christina in 2005. The motion noted the 2005 court order was still in effect as of May 13.

The court also denied Estrada's May 13 request for custody because Christina's court-appointed guardian ad litem had not been informed of the request to change custody.

The brother of Kimberly Kubina Choate also is seeking custody of Christina and hopes she will be returned to Kentucky, which is still an option, according to court documents.

Christina's custody temporarily was awarded to the state of Indiana until DCS either files a formal petition or shows the court cause as to why the matter should be dismissed.

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