Demonstrators held portraits of adopted Russian children who have died in the United States during a massive rally in Moscow on Saturday to support the Kremlin’s ban on U.S. adoptions.
Alexander Zemlianichenko • Associated Press ,
Russians decry Texas child's autopsy ruling
- Article by: DAVID M. HERSZENHORN and ANDREW ROTH
- New York Times
- March 2, 2013 - 7:36 PM
MOSCOW – Supporters of a Russian law banning adoptions by Americans reacted with renewed fury and derision on Saturday after Texas officials said that so far they had found no reason to file criminal charges against the adoptive mother of a 3-year-old boy from Russia who died under mysterious circumstances in January.
The death of the boy, Max Shatto, provoked a huge outcry here — including accusations of murder against his mother, Laura Shatto, and demands for the return of a younger brother, Kristopher, age 2 — as the law’s supporters described it as the latest example of abuse of an adopted Russian child in the United States. The boys were adopted together in November.
On Friday, law enforcement officials in Ector County, Texas, announced that after an autopsy, a medical examiner had ruled that Max’s death was accidental — the result of blunt trauma to his abdomen and laceration of a major artery. Texas officials said the boy “had previously been seen for a behavioral disorder that manifested itself in self-injury.”
Russia’s federal child rights commissioner, Pavel Astakhov, suspected a cover-up. “His bruises disappeared, medications dissolved, the adoptive parents were acquitted, the authorities renounced any claims,” he posted on Twitter. “The 3-year-old boy was the victim of big politics.”
Others said they found it highly dubious that such a small boy, no matter how troubled, could have caused an injury severe enough to cause his own death. They echoed Astakhov’s demand that U.S. officials provide the Russian authorities copies of all of the documents in the case.
The news conference announcing the autopsy findings in Texas came just hours before a previously planned rally in Moscow by supporters of the adoption ban, which President Vladimir Putin signed in December as retribution against the United States for an American law seeking to punish Russians accused of violating human rights.
At Saturday’s rally, some demonstrators held a huge banner with photographs of Max and Kristopher. “Look into their eyes,” the banner said. “What have you done for Russia’s orphans today?”
More than 600,000 Russian children live outside the custody of their biological parents, and a raft of measures have been proposed to improve care and services for them.
© 2013 Star Tribune