21 February 2013, 02:20

Maxim Kuzmin’s foster Mother says boy fainted, playing in the street

Maxim Kuzmin’s foster Mother says boy fainted, playing in the street

The foster mother of three-year old Russian adopted boy Maxim Kuzmin, who died in Texas, Laura Shatto, told investigating authorities she had found the child unconscious in the street, where he had been playing with his younger brother.

According to her, the boy was lying on the ground and she called an ambulance. Maxim died in hospital on January 21.

Earlier, a senior investigator of the forensic department of Ector County Shirley Stendefer confirmed there were bruises on the boy’s body. It was too early to say if they were signs of a beating or an accident.

In televised remarks on Tuesday Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s ombudsman, said that Russian and US law enforcers should jointly investigate the January 21 death of 3-year-old Maxim Kuzmin, believed to have been beaten up and drugged by his foster mother.

His brother remains in the care of the American family.

US has worst adoption record from Russia - Astakhov

Russian children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov has said the United States has shown the highest rate of abuse against adopted Russian orphans.

“No other country has recorded so many cases of deaths and violence against our children,” Mr. Astakhov said Wednesday in response to a question from an American journalist.

The ombudsman added the rate of Russian children given up for adoption by Americans has approached that of Italy, France and Spain, but none of the latter has shown so much reluctance in tightening control and providing information about the foster children.

Russian social care moves to repatriate orphaned Maxim Kuzmin’s brother

Social care officials from Russia’s Pskov region have moved to repeal the adoption of Kirill Kuzmin, the younger brother of the murdered Maxim Kuzmin, who died while living with an American foster family in the United States.

They said there were sufficient legal grounds to take the boy from his American adoptive parents, citing charges of child abuse, among others.

According to the plaintiffs, death of one of the siblings meant that his living brother could be repatriated.

More friction in Russia-US relations after Russian child's death

Andrey Fedyashin

The Russian authorities intend to insist on the return of two-year-old Kirill Kuzmin from the US to Russia. He is the brother of Maxim Kuzmin who died in the US recently. Russian children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov is prepared to take care of the legal aspect of his return.

Pavel Astakhov says that there is ample ground to doubt the validity of the boys’ grandparents’ deprivation of the right to child custody.

Pavel Astakhov organized a press-conference in Moscow today. He said that today Maxim’s and Kirill’s mother applied to him for restoration of parental rights.

“I believe that we have good cause to demand for Kirill’s return to Russia. The child has grandparents in Russia and Russian citizenship, so we have the right to insist on the return of a Russian citizen.”

The Texas Child Protective Services are carrying out their own investigation of the case and considering the version of either ‘cruel treatment’ or "criminal negligence." It is hard to say when the investigation will be completed. This is what an employee of the Child Protective Services Patrick Crimmings told The Voice of Russia:

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Meanwhile, the death of adopted Russian boy Maxim Kuzmin in Texas is rapidly turning into another irritant in Russia-US relations. The tragedy has already got to the point of political discord. In Moscow the State Duma honoured the memory of the little boy with a minute of silence on Tuesday. Then the MPs demanded for US Ambassador Michael McFaul’s detailed report about the circumstances of the case and the measures taken by the US in this connection.

Today the president’s press-secretary Dmitri Peskov had to disprove some media reports that during his visit to Pskov early in March Vladimir Putin would visit the orphanage In the Pskov environs from where Dima Yakovlev and Maxim Kuzmin were adopted. Both boys died in their adoptive families in the US. The press-secretary announced that no such visit was planned.

The Russian Parliament and Foreign Ministry have urged the US to establish public monitoring of the lives of adopted Russian children in adoptive US families. The Council of the Federation (the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament) is preparing a special address to the US Congress. The public movement Russian Mothers is to arrange a march in defence of Russian children in the US on the 2nd of March.

The US Embassy in Moscow has not yet responded to Russian MPs’ demand. Actually, the US ambassador is not bound to give accounts to Russian MPs. In any case, he will wait for instructions from Washington.

The US Department of State is trying to beat down the heat of emotions around the death of the 20th adopted Russian child in the US. The Department’s spokesperson Victoria Nuland has announced at a briefing that the Department of State is rendering assistance to Russia in revealing the circumstances of the case. At the same time she had difficulty in replying when exactly the Department of State found out the date of the Russian boy’s death.

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Three-year-old Maxim, or Max Alan Shatto as he was called in the US, died in Texas on the 21st of January. Russian children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov was the first to report his death in Russia. He said that the death occurred due to a beating inflicted by his adoptive mother. Before that the boy was fed psychotropic medications. Russian diplomats in the US found out about the tragedy only in the middle of February, through their own channels and not from the Department of State.

The Shattos have not been taken into custody yet.

Voice of Russia, Interfax, TASS, RIA

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