LAPORTE — The father of a 21-year-old man accused of battering his 15-year-old brother and causing the boy's death said in a video shared on Facebook that the killing was not intentional.
"The truth of this matter is that this was a case of two brothers that got into it — two brothers getting into it as two brothers would — only this time it didn't end well," an emotionally distraught Ron Papke said in a video shot live Friday.
Papke said the dispute between 21-year-old Tyler Kiger and 15-year-old Michael Kiger occurred June 7 at their grandmother's home in rural LaPorte County.
Police and paramedics were called to the scene and later took Michael to a home in LaPorte to be with his mother, "where he was fully living and fully breathing", Papke said.
"And early that morning, Michael did not wake up," Papke said.
The video was posted June 15, and Papke said his son Tyler Kiger had an attorney and was expecting to be arrested.
LaPorte County Sheriff's police announced Tuesday that Tyler Kiger had been arrested charged with a felony count of involuntary manslaughter. But further details of the alleged crime are being kept under wraps.
The affidavit of probable cause, which is a standard court document spelling out the details in criminal cases, has been sealed at the request of prosecutors by LaPorte County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Alevizos, according to court records.
The only charging document available to the public as of Wednesday morning was a single page spelling out the felony charge and setting bond at $15,000 cash.
Neither LaPorte County Prosecutor John Lake nor Deputy Prosecutor Atley Price could be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.
An initial hearing for Kiger is scheduled for Friday morning before Alevizos.
Papke could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
"Tyler didn't intentionally, he did not intentionally do anything to harm his brother," Papke said in the video.
The video had attracted nearly 19,000 views by Wednesday afternoon.
"I want you guys to share this video because I want the people to know the truth," he said.
Police said Michael Kiger was found unresponsive on the morning of June 8 at a LaPorte residence. They confirmed they had been called out the night before to a residence in the 2800 West block of County Road 450 North in response to a disturbance between the two brothers.
An investigation was launched when detectives learned the 15-year-old boy had died, police said.
On Monday, Detective Sgt. Adam Hannon, of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office, testified in LaPorte County Circuit Court in a probable cause hearing.
LaPorte County sheriff's police then issued a warrant for Tyler Kiger's arrest, and he is currently in custody at the LaPorte County Jail, police said.
"At this time, the investigation remains active awaiting final documentation pertaining to the investigation," LaPorte County Sheriff's Capt. Derek Allen said. "Therefore, no further information will be released."
Michael Kiger was described as energetic and fun-loving in his obituary. He also was known as an animal lover who cared deeply for his pet chickens.
The family will hold a celebration of life at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Cutler Funeral Home and Cremation Center with his cremation following. Visitation will be from 3 p.m. until the time of service.
Photos on the funeral home's website showed dozens of photos depicting a vibrant, smiling boy surrounded by family and friends.
Memorial contributions can be directed to the LaPorte County Small Animal Shelter at 2855 W. Ind. 2 in LaPorte or the Michiana Humane Society at 722 Ind. 212 in Michigan City, the obituary said.