by Maria Antonova, Agence France-Presse | 02/20/2013 8:13 AM
MOSCOW - A woman in the US state of Texas has killed her adopted Russian son, the Kremlin's envoy for children said Monday, outlining the latest alleged abuse of an adopted Russian child by American parents.
"A three-year-old Russian child has been murdered by his adoptive mother in the state of Texas," ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said on his office's Twitter feed @RFdeti.
"Three-year-old Maxim was beaten (according to the investigators) by his adoptive mother, who fed him psychoactive drugs over a long period of time," he said, expressing dismay that the US State Department kept silent about the case.
"He died before the arrival of the ambulance called by his adoptive mother. According to the autopsy report, the boy had many injuries."
Russia has long complained about the treatment of Russian orphans adopted by American parents and in December controversially passed a law banning adoptions of Russian children by Americans.
In a coordinated move, both Russia's foreign ministry and the Investigative Committee quickly put out statements regarding the case of Maxim Kuzmin, who died on January 21, according to the ministry's human rights envoy.
The death is "yet another case of inhuman torture of a Russian child adopted by US parents," said commissioner Konstantin Dolgov.
He said the parents gave the boy the drug Risperdal used to treat adult schizophrenia and his body had signs of beatings. He added that child protection services said that the boy died "due to abusive treatment by the adoptive mother L. Shatto."
"We are forced to declare that the US State Department -- unlike the authorities of Ector county -- did not help our consulate representatives in finding out the causes of a new fatal incident with a Russian child in the United States," Dolgov said in a videoed statement.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland rebutted the Russian criticism and said that authorities in Texas were still determining how the boy died.
"It is a terrible tragedy that this child has died. But none of us -- not here, not anywhere in the world -- should jump to a conclusion about the circumstances until the police have had a chance to investigate," she said.
"There have been very strong assertions made from Moscow. We are going to wait until the investigation is complete," she said.
Nuland denied Kremlin charges that the United States has been uncooperative, saying that the State Department has been in touch for "some number of days" with the Russian consulate in Houston and embassy in Washington.
"We obviously take very seriously the welfare of children, particularly children who've been adopted from other countries," she said.
An obituary for a boy named Max Alan Shatto of Ector County, posted on the website of Owens memorial funeral home, identified his parents as Alan and Laura Shatto. He died on Monday afternoon, January 21, the website says.
"Max, you were not with us long enough to leave fingerprints on the walls but you left fingerprints upon our hearts," the obituary said.
Russia's Investigative Committee said it has begun to look into the case and may eventually open a criminal probe once it examines documents provided by the foreign ministry and Astakhov.
Russia has previously complained about unfair rulings in cases of abuse of Russian children by American adoptive parents. In December, President Vladimir Putin said that the US court system "often simply does not react" to crimes against adoptees and "frees people who carry out crimes against children from justice."
"Is it normal, when you are humiliated?" Putin fumed at a press conference as he explained the reasons for the adoption ban. "You shouldn't humiliate the country."
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