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TX couple not charged in death of adopted Russian child

POSTED: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 11:59am
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 12:13pm

A Texas couple will not face charges in the January death of their adopted Russian son, Max Shatto.

The case sparked international attention after Russian officials claimed the boy was murdered, however, a grand jury found no evidence to charge the parents.

"The truth of the matter is this was an accident. It's a tragic death involving a 3-year-old," said Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland.

The grand jury presiding over the case no billed the Shattos, meaning they will not face any criminal charges.

"This is based on the lack of any evidence to establish any fault at the hands of Alan and Laura Shatto."

The autopsy report and investigation showed that there was no evidence of abuse and any bruising was self inflicted due to Shatto's previously diagnosed behavioral disorder.

The injury ultimately resulted in Shatto's death has been ruled an accident that most likely occurred while the boy was playing on a piece of playground equipment outside their Gardendal home.

"I guess you could call it a's not quite a see saw but it kinda looks like one, and... a child could be hit by this and it could have caused the damage that the autopsy found."

Bland says the doctors he spoke with agree that the injury was consistent with others cause by this piece of equipment.

The report showed Max Shatto was frail and undernourished when he was adopted out Russia.

Bland said the family was doing what they could to improve his health, but a child in his state would have been more vulnerable than a healthy child.

"This child was undernourished, very small for his age, also with the behavioral disorder...prone to hurt himself...and therefore it may - it could have been something that would have gone generally unnoticed at the time."

While this could have happened at any point in the day, the report shows that it most likely happened during a ten minute window during which Laura Shatto was dealing with an emergency in the house.


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