Russia Accuses Texas Woman of Murdering Adopted Boy

Wednesday, 20 Feb 2013 12:03 PM

By Cyrus Afzali

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A Texas woman is being accused by Russian officials of fatally beating a 3-year-old boy she adopted last year from Russia before President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning all Russian adoptions by Americans.

According to The New York Times, Texas child welfare authorities have confirmed they also received accusations of physical abuse and neglect of Max Shatto, who was adopted along with a younger brother, by Laura and Alan Shatto of Gardendale, Texas.

The news of the death was prominently featured in Russia following a decision by the country’s prosecutorial investigative committee to open its own inquiry into what it labeled the “murder” of an adopted child.

The United States Embassy in Moscow issued a statement Tuesday saying that “it would be irresponsible to draw conclusions about the death or assign guilt before autopsy results are analyzed and an investigation carried out.”

But Russian authorities called reports they had received about Max’s treatment to be “shocking.”

“This 3-year-old boy has been repeatedly beat by his American mother, and when the autopsy was performed, they found that his entire body was covered in bruises,” said Konstantin Dolgov, the human rights commissioner for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Texas authorities have refused to comment further on the case until an investigation is completed, the Times noted. However, Patrick Crimmins of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said no previous accusations of abuse against the Shatto family had been received.

Meanwhile, the younger brother remains in the Shatto home, the Times reported. The Shattos have not publicly commented on the incident or given an account of Max's death.

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