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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid