No criminal charges for U.S. parents of adopted Russian boy who died

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 18, 2013 6:15 PM

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - No criminal charges will be filed against the adoptive parents of a Russian-born boy who died in January in Texas, a prosecutor said on Monday, in a case that has intensified a dispute over international adoptions.

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

Max was found dead in the yard of his home in Gardendale, Texas, near the oilfield city of Odessa.

A West Texas grand jury determined that there was no evidence that his adoptive parents, Laura and Alan Shatto, had committed any crime, Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland said in a statement.

"This death was the result of a tragic accident occurring most likely on playground equipment," Bland said. "When a child dies so young and tragically, it is natural to want to hold someone accountable. However, in this case, there is no evidence to support holding anybody criminally responsible."

(Reporting by Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Andrew Hay)