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No new charges 21 years after initial Missouri abuse case

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ST. LOUIS (AP) – A Missouri man who spent nine months in prison in the mid-1990s in connection with an assault that brain-damaged his 3-month-old son won’t face new charges now that the son has died.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports John M. Choate died last October as a ward of the state, 21 years after being assaulted by John Choate Sr.

When the younger Choate died, the medical examiner ruled his death a homicide. Police reopened the investigation and sought new charges against the senior Choate in June.

But a spokesman for the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office says most of the evidence in the original assault case has been destroyed, and the boy’s parents both deny hurting the then-infant.

The elder Choate doesn’t have a listed home telephone number and couldn’t be reached Wednesday.