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Russia alleges grotesque abuse of three year old orphan adopted and 'murdered' in USA

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18 February 2013


Maxim Kuzmin, 3,  died on 21 January, almost a month before details were released. Picture: 

But the three year old died of 'extreme torture' after being adopted to America, said an official on Monday. 

'A three-year-old Russian child has been murdered by his adoptive mother in the state of Texas,' said ombudsman Pavel Astakhov.

The allegations are especially toxic due to the bitter diplomatic row over adoption following a Russian ban on children going to families in America. This has been seen as revenge  by the Kremlin over a US ban on visas for officials linked to the case of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow detention centre after allegedly being a whistleblower on a high-level corruption scandal. 

'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,' said Astakov, who expressed fury that the US State Department allegedly kept quiet 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.'

Russian commissioner Konstantin Dolgov said Maxim's adoptive parents gave the boy the drug Risperdal, normally used to treat adult schizophrenia and his body had signs of beatings. He said child protection services reported 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,' said the official. 

Maxim Kuzmin's adoptive parents have been named in the US as Alan and Laura Shatto. He died on 21 January, almost a month before details were released, it is claimed. 

'Max, you were not with us long enough to leave fingerprints on the walls but you left fingerprints upon our hearts,' said an obituary posted by a US funeral service. 

Russian officials have complained previously about repeated cases of cruelty, abuses and murder of Russian children adopted to America. President Vladimir Putin has given this as the key reason for halting adoptions to the US. 

Other say such cases are a tiny fraction of thousands of successful adoptions, often involving disabled children. Russia's Investigative Committee has begun a probe into the case, said spokesman Vladimir Markin. Of major concern are 'shocking' reports that he suffered 'numerous injuries on legs and head, abdominal cavity and internal organs that could have been caused by a strong blow. 

'The foster parents regularly gave the three-year-old child a strong psychotropic substance that is usually used in the treatment of schizophrenia in adults. But this is a three-year-old boy!'

Moscow is demanding 'severe punishment' if the allegations are proven. 

The boy came from the same orphanage as Dima Yakovlev, who died in 2008, and gave his name to the new law cracking down on US adoptions of Russian children. 

'It is right that Maxim Kuzmin was our boy and that he was adopted last year to US,'  said Chief Doctor of Pechora Orphanage, Natalya Vishnevskaya.

'There was no restriction on foreign adoptions then. 

'He went to America less than half a year ago so we don't have a first report on him. I cannot clarify any more on the situation.'

Comments (9)

This is so heartbreaking and gut wrenching to see and hear about Russian adoptees being put through the wringer by Awful U.S. citizens. This young boy is so adorable and could have had a bright optimistic future if not placed in the wrong hands of cruel people. My heart goes out to Maxim❤️, love you lots ❤️❤️❤️.
Mya, Evans, GA
13/05/2023 15:29
The adopted parents from the USA should be sent back to Russia for their punishment. Well that won't happen but
why not select a Russian jury to convict these people. I am tried of big aldults picking on children, go to a bar on Friday or Saturday night and strart a fight.
Darlene Smith, Atlanta GA USA
02/03/2013 22:52
Here we have to think not as americans or russians but as humans who wish these children, stuck in the orphanages without a hope for a good future, to find a loving family. And in Russia can not provide it then why would you take the last chance for a better life from a child? Just because of stupid politics?
Kate, Russia
22/02/2013 03:08
I agree with you, Lynn, and think that it's the child welfare system that could have saved the life of this poor boy as well as the lives of many other kids who were abused or killed by there parents. But you can't blame it on the US and take away the right from the US citizens to make other kid's life better. It's not the American policy to adopt and torture russian children, and that's how it is sometimes presented here in Russia. And of course with this bullshit being poured on russians from TV everyday they do think and Russian said that Americans adopt children only with evil intentions. But the truth here is that Russian needs this foreign adoptions as the country can not provide them with the normal like, neither it can provide the props level of income for the russian parents who would like to adopt a child. Russian families do not adopt as much as the american do just for only one - financial - reason.
Kate, Russia
22/02/2013 03:07
Thank you to the person who signed their name "Russian, Russia" for sharing insights into how Russians think about the problem of foreign adoptions. Frankly, it would not have occurred to me. What motivates most Americans looking for Russian adoptions is racism ---- they seek a Caucasian child. African-American children may be available for adoption in the U.S., but they do not want them --- either due to their own racism, or the problem of dealing with raising a child with the cultural tensions of raising an African-American child in a Caucasian family. People here will travel thousands of miles and pay huge sums to find a Caucasian child. Sad, but true. I agree with banning or discouraging foreign adoptions because it makes it much more difficult for a child to later trace their biological parents and heritage. But Americans are stupid in many ways. They will see this ban as a political attack. I don't like many things about America right now. There are people here who are always looking for a fight and find it impossible to see things from another person's point of view, particularly among those in the Republican Party (in my opinion). As a result, we've become the bullies of the world. Regarding this adoption, when a problem of child abuse comes to the attention of authorities here, the child welfare system that is supposed to monitor the problems and remove a child from the home where indicated --- is underfunded in most States. I have worked as a psychiatrist in U.S. prisons and jails, and probably 75% of men referred for psychiatric services had a history of severe childhood abuse. These men were damaged for life. Where was our child welfare system? The death of this Russian child is a grievous story. I apologize for the suffering and death of this Russian child. No one could possibly believe this was the desired outcome of an adoption.
Lynn Shepler MD JD, Arizona, USA
21/02/2013 11:37
What Americans do not understand is that to most Russians this is not about politics. Russians (especially men) cannot understand why anyone would choose to adopt from an overseas country when every country has its own orphans. And many believe that only a person with ill intentions would adopt from overseas so they can get away with things otherwise they could not get away with. So many Russians think that adopting from a different country is wrong and is almost like picking a dog instead of helping a child in need, so the list of countries allowed to adopt Russian children is limited. It's not about the politics to most adults, they just don't want kids to be hurt, and there were more cases of abuse of adopted Russian children in the US than reported in the news.
Russian, russia
21/02/2013 01:30
This would be the 20th Russian adoptee murdered by American adopting parents. The international adoption industry refuses to admit there is a problem.

I was adopted from a German orphanage by an American couple and applaud the ban prohibiting Americans from adopting Russian children. In this television interview, I describe international adoption from a unique perspective--that of a foreign orphan adopted to the United States--and harm caused by uprooting children from their native countries and cultures.

Peter Dodds
Peter Dodds, USA
20/02/2013 10:16
How do the Russians know what is in the autopsy report since even the Ector County Sheriff's Department say they have not received it yet and the investigation is ongoing. They Russians claim that Texas Child Protective Services told them that the child was murdered and tortured by his mother. This is BS. CPS would not have released this kind of information to anyone until the mother was officially charged with the crime. It would prejudice the case. The Russians obliviously do not know how the justice process operates in a free society like Texas. An arrest warrant must be issued by a magistrate upon presentation of probable cause of a crime being committed by the appropriate Law Enforcement Agency. The Russians can preform their own investigation from Russian if they wish, but they do not have the facts yet. Until they get the facts maybe they could investigate the Russian Politician found dead today in a barrel of concrete in Russian. Maybe they could get the facts for this case?
19/02/2013 08:56
I'm saddened to hear of this poor boy's death at the hands of his adoptive mother here in the United States. Russia is right by banning adoptions of their children to women in the United States. There are far too many children being killed by mothers in America today, whether adopted or their own biological child, they still kill these little children on a daily basis. Many of the murderous mothers rarely do much jail time, if any at all. American society has become desensitized to violence overall, especially when it involves family violence involving children. By all means protect your children, do not send them to the United States, the society is far too violent for them. There are so many other countries these children could be received without having all the terrible societal problems plaguing the United States now.
Robert, Miami, FL, USA
18/02/2013 23:56

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