An Indiana stepmom who starved and locked her now dead 13-year-old stepson in a dog cage for months on end has been jailed for 35 years.
Kimberly Kubina, 47, pleaded guilty to felony neglect for the death of Christian Choate — whose body was found in a shallow grave at a Gary mobile home park in May 2011.
Lake County police investigators said he died in 2009, but his disappearance was not reported until two years later.
An autopsy revealed the boy, whose body was severely malnourished when found, had died from a fractured skull.
Kubina’s former husband, 40-year-old Riley Choate of Hammond, admitted burying the body under a storage shed with a Bible across his chest.
But he denied causing the boy’s death.
He was sentenced to 80 years in prison last month for his role in the death.
Kubina denied knowing about how Christian had died, saying she believed he had gone to visit his biological mother.
She also told Lake Superior Court she was “remorseful” for not stopping the continued abuse, alleging that it was initiated by her former lover who was “intimidating and violent.”
She feared he would cause welfare authorities to take away the other children, including nephews and nieces, that she was looking after, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Kubina admitted that Christian was kept in a dog cage and that she ordered his sister to only feed him Asian noodles.
Up to 13 people knew how Christian was being treated, the court heard, but nobody did anything to stop it.
Both Choate and Kubina initially pleaded not guilty to all charges surrounding the death.
But they later struck plea deals with prosecutors in order to avoid jury trials.
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