Parents Not Charged In Adopted Russian Toddler's Death 3/18/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
March 18, 2013
ODESSA, TX - Through findings from Ector County Sheriff's Department and autopsy reports, the grand jury found that Max Shatto's death was the result of an accident.
After reviewing all pieces of evidence, the grand jury decided not to charge Alan and Laura Shatto in the death of their 3-year-old adopted son Max Shatto.
"I presented the case of the death of Max Shatto to the grand jury. The grand jury returned no bills in both cases meaning that there will be no charges," said District Attorney Bobby Bland.
Bland says the findings of the autopsy have held up and doctors who reviewed the body say there were no signs of abuse.
"The injury to the child that caused the death, according to the pathologist and according to the evidence, is not consistent with being hit or struck by a person," said Bland.
He says the boy was already in a malnourished state before he came to the U.S. from Russia and doctors believe his current condition made the child’s body susceptible to injury.
Bland says doctors believe the trauma to the abdomen that lead to the child’s death was caused by a fall or being struck by gliding playground equipment, which the boy was playing on in his back yard.
Although the criminal case is closed, Bland says CPS officials are still investigating.
“There is still a CPS case, but their aim is different than ours. It's not criminal in nature,” said Bland.
We reached out to the Shatto family to get a statement about the grand jury's decision.
They did not want to comment at this time.