Adopted Russian boy's death ruled accidental in Texas

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 01, 2013 4:42 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas authorities ruled the death of a Russian boy adopted by a U.S. couple as accidental on Friday, but said a probe would continue into a case that has intensified a dispute over international adoptions.

The January 21 death of Max Shatto, 3, had sparked criminal and child welfare investigations in Texas, probes by authorities in Russia, and calls from Russian lawmakers for his 2-year-old brother to be returned to Russia.

The boy died of a laceration to an artery due to blunt trauma in the abdomen, according to a statement from Ector County officials.

"Based on all medical reasonable probability, the manner of death is accidental," the statement said.

The finding, based on the boy's documented medical history and an autopsy performed by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office, was verified by three pathologists at that office and by an outside medical examiner, the statement said.

Doctors determined that bruising found on the child was consistent with self-injury, the statement said.

"Shatto had previously been seen for a behavioral disorder that manifested itself in self injury and these bruises were consistent with that diagnosis," the statement said.

There were no medicines or substances found that could have contributed to Max's death, the statement said.

The local sheriff and other officials are continuing their investigation.

"We are going to let this investigation take its course and do what is proper and right," the statement from Ector County officials said.

(Reporting by David Bailey and Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)