Sorting Fact From Fiction After Russian Child Dies 2/19/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
February 19, 2013
GARDENDALE-The story of 3-year-old Max Shatto has swept across the nation and the world.
Now local officials are speaking out about what they know, and more importantly, what they don't.
Max Shatto was born in Russia, but his adoptive family home is right here in Gardendale.
Now Shatto is dead and the Russian media is calling it a tragedy.
“We’re still waiting to see where we’re going to go after the autopsy comes back as far as any charges,” said Sgt. Gary Duesler of the Ector County Sheriff’s Office. “Nobody’s been charged with anything, no arrests.”
The Ector County Medical Examiner’s office says they did find bruising on the boy's body. He was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after arrival on Jan. 21.
They say it's too early to say what caused the bruises.
"There were some signs of life, so that’s why he was transported to Medical Center Hospital,” said Chief Investigator Shirley Standefer of the Medical Examiner’s Office. “He had bruising over a lot of his body.”
We asked the Sheriff’s office if they had received any calls of abuse or neglect before Shatto's death.
"Unknown to me, no, I have not heard of anything like that,” said Sgt. Duesler.
The Sheriff's office is investigating it as an unattended death. They say they are in touch with Russian officials, but could not give specifics on who started those talks or what was discussed.
“We’re not going to comment till we get the autopsy results back,” said Sgt. Duesler. “I can’t speak for what other agencies report.”
The Shatto's also have another two-year-old son from Russia.
Texas Child Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins says they are investigating allegations of abuse, but have not taken away the Shatto's other child.
“There is a younger brother there, two years old,” said Crimmins. “He remains in the home and we are monitoring his safety as part of our investigation.”
We went to the Shatto home in Gardendale, we knocked, but we got no answer.
Meanwhile, the accusations from Russia are raising even more questions.
“All of this has kind of developed into a wildfire,” said Standefer. “Where they are getting the information of injuries and all that, I have no clue. Our office has not released any info because we don’t have it to release.”
You might be wondering why we're just now hearing about it if it happened nearly a month ago.
Sheriff's officials say they do not always publicize unattended deaths.