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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid