Good Samaritan donates headstone to Christian Choate's grave

November 1, 2013 (GARY, Ind.)

Christian Choate can truly now rest in peace.

"I came yesterday and saw it and it brought a tear to my eye," said Bernard Eriks, Christian's maternal grandfather.

It's the first time the 13-year-old-- who was beaten, starved, and locked in a cage until he died-- has had a gravestone at his final resting place. The teen was buried last year without one after Ridgelawn Cemetery donated the casket and gravesite.

On Friday morning, the child's relatives and others gathered to dedicate the headstone donated by good Samaritian Patricia Breslin.

The Washington state resident first saw Christian's story online in 2011.

"When I read Christian's story and saw that smile and those sad eyes, it just embedded in my heart," said Patricia Breslin, Good Samaritan.

Christian's biological mother didn't speak during Friday's service, which was led by Father Steve Kosinski.

"All he was looking for was to be liked and loved. That's all he wanted," said Father Steve Kosinski, All Saints Church of Hammond.

Christian Choate died in April 2009 after years of abuse by his father Riley Choate and stepmother Kim Kubina. They buried him near their home in Gary, Indiana. His body was found in May 2011. Both are serving lengthy prison sentences.

"And it's just wrong what happened to him," said Maggie Porter, family friend.

Despite being investigated by the Indiana Department of Child Services, the couple never lost custody of the boy.

"The system failed this child," said Sheriff John Buncich, Lake County, Indiana.

Indiana resident Theresa Nordyke did not know Christian but hopes his death will save other abused children.

"Just to maybe pay attention to who's around you and if they need your help," said Theresa Nordyke, Northwest Indiana resident.

While the family says today gave them closure and peace, the Lake County Sheriff says the case was one of the most difficult for his investigators. The Indiana Department of Child Services could not be reached for comment on their internal investigation into the matter.

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