After Texas boy's death, Russian official continues call for ban on adoptions

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 9:58am

(CNN) -- A Russian government child advocate said Wednesday he may have spoken too soon when he said a 3-year-old adopted boy who died in Texas was "killed" or "murdered."

At a press conference Wednesday, Children's Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov said he tweeted those words based on the initial reports he received about the death. With the investigation still going, he's now simply saying the boy "died."

Still he said, he wants his country to ban all international adoptions of Russian children.

Astakhov's statement echoes others who have blasted the United States recently, and it continues an ongoing adoption battle between the once-Cold War foes.

The 3-year-old's death has also thrown into jeopardy America's efforts to push through more than 500 adoption cases in which American families had already begun the process before Moscow in December passed a law banning adoptions by U.S. citizens, the State Department has said.

That pending law would ban adoptions by Americans ostensibly because of documented cases of abuse by adoptive parents. But critics say the Russian move is in retaliation for a U.S. law that places restrictions on Russian human rights abusers.

The boy was born on January 9, 2010, and died on January 21, 2013, Russian officials have said. They have also implied that the boy may have been beaten.

Authorities in Texas have not released such details but have called the death "suspicious." They have also offered some specifics.

The child was found unresponsive at his residence and his mother called 911, Ector County Forensic Death Investigator Sondra Woolf said. He was pronounced dead by an emergency room doctor, she said.

Autopsy reports are still pending.

While softening his language about the boy's death, Astakhov made more demands at the news conference Wednesday.

The child advocate asked that the boy's younger brother, who was adopted by the same Texas family, be returned to Russia.

-- CNN's Zarifmo Aslamshoyeva and Chandler Friedman contributed to this report.

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