US Parents Cleared in Death of Adopted Russian Boy

ODESSA, TEXAS March 18 (RIA Novosti) – Prosecutors in Ector County, Texas said Monday that Alan and Laura Shatto, the American parents whose adopted Russian toddler died suddenly in January, won’t be charged in the boy’s death.

“This is based on a number of interviews … that suggests this death was accidental,” said Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland at an afternoon news conference

Bland said a grand jury cleared the parents of criminal negligence on Monday.

Three-year-old Max Shatto, also known by his Russian name, Maxim Kuzmin, was adopted along with his younger brother in November.

Laura Shatto told authorities that she found Max unresponsive outside their home in Gardendale, Texas while he was playing with brother.

According to sheriff’s officials, ambulance workers who were called to the home on the afternoon of Jan. 21 found Max unresponsive and transported him to a hospital where he died a short time later.

The medical examiner found that bruises on his body were consistent with self-inflicted injuries.

The death came just weeks after Russia enacted a ban on Americans adopting Russian children, in part because of concerns about previous deaths of adopted Russian children.

“The grand jury determined there was insufficient evidence to charge them with anything,” Bland said at Monday’s news conference.

Texas Child Protective Services is still investigating Bland said, but he added he does not believe it will result in charges against the parents.

Russia’s child rights ombudsman, Pavel Astakhov, has publicly accused the adoptive mother of killing the boy and giving him “psychotropic substances.”

Russia’s Investigative Committee has said it is conducting its own investigation.

Updated with additional information

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