News / USA

Texas Authorities Investigate Death of Adopted Russian Child

Greg Flakus
Authorities in Ector County, in west Texas, are investigating the death of a three-year-old boy who was born in Russia and adopted by a US couple living in that area. A medical examiner raised questions about possible abuse after a preliminary inspection of the boy's body, which is now undergoing an autopsy.

State and local authorities are proceeding with an investigation into the death of three-year-old Max Shatto on January 21 in Odessa, Texas, but they still have no determination of cause and have not made any arrests. Ector County Sheriff's Department Sergeant Gary Duesler says several local agencies became involved in the case very quickly.

“The Medical Examiners office and, of course, our office is involved in it, Child Protective Services because it did not look like a natural death to us," said Duesler. "So we sent the body off for an autopsy in Tarrant County and we are currently waiting for the results to come back on that.”

Duesler says Odessa is too small to have its own autopsy facility so such cases are often handled by a hospital in a larger city like Dallas. He says investigators have spoken to the family, but have not filed any charges yet.

“We are starting to try to put the pieces of the puzzle together. It is an ongoing investigation and we are basically in limbo until we get results back from the autopsy," he said.

Duesler says the sheriff's department is in contact with the Russian embassy in Washington and with US Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Senator Landrieu recently headed a group of ten US senators at a meeting with officials at the Russian embassy about the ban on US adoptions Russia imposed late last year.

At the US State Department Tuesday, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland described the death of Max Shatto as a tragedy and said US officials are keeping in touch with both the Russian embassy and the Russian consulate in Houston.

But Nuland cautioned that it is still too early to say what happened to the adopted boy.

“Nobody should jump to any conclusions about how this child died until Texas authorities have had a chance to investigate," said Nuland.

The death of the boy in west Texas has aroused Russian critics of US child adoptions who say not enough is being done to protect adopted children from abusive or negligent parents. Russian officials expressed outrage in 2008 when an adopted toddler named Dima Yakovlev died in Virginia after being left alone in a closed car in intense heat. Max Shatto, whose birth name was Maxim Kuzmin, came from the same orphanage in Russia. Texas officials say his two-year-old brother remains in the home of the adoptive parents, Alan and Laura Shatto, while the investigation proceeds.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sheri from: Galveston Texas
February 20, 2013 4:13 AM
A 3 year old is dead & there has not been an arrest? Did he fall from a 2 story building? The state of Texas has had over a month for an autopsy & NOTHING has been said or done? On top of that the other child is LEFT IN THE HOME!?


by: Justiceformom from: USA
February 19, 2013 8:58 PM
This article is not based on any factual evidence. These parents are innocent and a victim of abuse by the Russian government.

In Response

by: Anonymous
February 20, 2013 12:27 AM
No in humane acts were done by these adoptive parents. The autopsy will prove it! Make sure the autopsy is public knowledge so Russia does not get a bias stance on this matter!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid