News / USA

Prosecutors Decline to Charge Parents in Death of Adopted Russian Child

The driveway to the Shatto family home, rear left, is seen in Gardendale, Texas, Friday, March 1, 2013.
The driveway to the Shatto family home, rear left, is seen in Gardendale, Texas, Friday, March 1, 2013.
Greg Flakus
The chief prosecutor in a western Texas county says he will file no charges against a couple whose adopted son from Russia died at their home in January. But, Texas state authorities are continuing their investigation into allegations of abuse and neglect by the parents.

The Ector County prosector, Bobby Bland, declined to charge Alan and Laura Shatto with any criminal offense in relation to the death of their adopted 3-year-old son Max on January 21. Bland said the county grand jury that examined the case determined there was not sufficient evidence to support a charge.

The Shattos adopted the boy, whose birth name was Maxim Kuzmin, along with his younger brother, Kristopher, from a Russian orphanage last year, not long before that country imposed a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children. Russian officials have pointed to this case as an example of what they describe as widespread abuse of adopted Russian children in the United States.

Meanwhile, a state agency, Texas Child Protective Services, is continuing its own investigation into the case, according to the agency's spokesman Patrick Crimmins.

“We are investigating two allegations, said Crimmins. "The first is physical abuse, and the second is neglect or neglectful supervision. Once we are finished with the investigation, there will be a finding in each of the allegations.”

Crimmins said Texas Child Protective Services carries out such investigations when it receives allegations or reports from anyone about abuse or neglect of a child. He would give no information on who made the reports in this case.

“Anything about the reporters of child abuse is strictly confidential," he said.

As for how long the investigation might take, Crimmins had little to offer.

“There is really no timetable. It is impossible to say when we will arrive at a finding," said Crimmins.

An attorney representing the Shattos says the two adopted boys were playing in the yard outside the house when the mother, Laura, had to go inside to use the bathroom. She told investigators that when she returned, about 10 minutes later, she found Max on the ground unconscious. He was then taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

However, the medical examiner saw bruises on the body and ordered an autopsy. The results from that autopsy, announced March 1, indicated that the death was accidental. But that did not settle the question of neglect.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs