Records indicate Merrillville school officials contacted the parents of Christian Choate, concerned about the number of days he had missed from school.
Dozens of pages of documents were released Friday by the Indiana Department of Child Services detailing the last years of the 13-year-old's life before he was allegedly killed by family members in April 2009.
Chris Foltz, principal at Iddings Elementary School in Merrillville where Christian was a fourth-grader, wrote a letter to Riley Choate and Kimberly Kubina Choate, Christian's father and stepmother. The letter, dated March 2, 2007, said Christian missed 15 days of school in one grading period, and for that year had missed 28 days of school.
"While most of these days are due to illness, the amount of days absent is excessive and it is difficult for him to keep up with his class work. He is also unable to receive his special education service when he is not here," Foltz noted.
"Please contact me to discuss Christian's attendance and any health problems that I need to be aware of," Foltz wrote.
A few days later, records indicate Foltz received a phone message from Choate family members saying they were going to withdraw Christian to home-school him.
Foltz, in turn, wrote Riley Choate and Kimberly Kubina Choate urging them to register the home school with the Indiana Department of Education. She also informed the family that Christian was eligible to receive special education services for one hour each week at Iddings Elementary School.
The Indiana Department of Education confirmed Kubina Choate registered a home school online April 23, 2007. In turn, the department sent Kubina Choate a letter dated April 27, 2007, acknowledging the registration, assigning a school number and telling her the state's minimum requirements for home schooling. Indiana is one of 10 states in the country with minimal regulations for students who are home-schooled.
There is no indication the Choates followed up by bringing the youngster to school for special education services. Nor did the school contact the family again, according to the information released.
Enclosed in the DCS report are Christian's grades and ISTEP-Plus scores. Christian failed the English/language arts and math portion of the test as a third-grader. As a fourth-grader in 2006, he passed the test's math portion and failed the English/language arts section. He was 45 points under the pass score of 429. He was slated to attend summer school in the summer of 2006, but he never showed up, according to the report.
Christian, and his older sister, Christina, originally were transferred into the Merrillville Community School Corp. from the Lake Ridge Schools on March 4, 2005. On the same date, Riley Choate signed an authorization for the Southlake Center for Mental Health to release information about Christian Choate to the school district. There are no records contained in the DCS report from the mental health center, now known as Regional Mental Health Center.
However, the DCS report indicates Kubina Choate was cited for educational neglect of a child in 2004 in connection with her daughter. That incident occurred before Christian Choate was born or even lived with Riley Choate and Kubina Choate.
Christian Choate's body was discovered in May buried in a shallow grave in a Black Oak mobile home park in Gary. DNA testing confirmed the body is that of Christian Choate. He allegedly spent at least the last year of his life locked in a dog cage and subjected to routine beatings.
Riley Choate, 39, and Kimberly Kubina Choate, 45, are facing murder and other charges in the boy's death.