A death of a young boy in the US has been surrounded by intense political controversy after he passed away in circumstances which the Russian government thought to be suspicious. Max Shatto’s adoptive mother was accused of murdering her son by the Russian Children’s Commissioner, Pavel Astakhov. However, it has now transpired that this was not the case.

The conclusion of an investigation into the Shatto incident has labelled the death as an accident. The three year old’s death was investigated immediately following his passing away in Texas in January. The US investigation resulted in 4 separate doctors conducting post mortems and finding the young boy had suffered injuries which we consistent with self harm rather than harm inflicted upon him by a third party. The child was suffering from mental illness which caused him to injure himself. It was these self inflicted wounds which caused the child to pass away in mid-January. All four medical professionals were in agreement about the cause of Max’s death ruling out Shatto’s parents as suspects.

The case is still predicted to enter the US courts as although it is not believed the case is murder, the case may become a case of negligence in supervision on the part of Max’s parents. For a young boy, recently adopted, with a history of self harm and mental illness it is possible that Max’s parents should have been making sure he was under better supervision than that which he was receiving at the time of the accident. Russian authorities are not happy with the ruling and are investigating the death separately.

Is it thought that they are calling upon the incident to help support a recent law that was passed in Russia preventing Americans adopting Russian children. The US government has been attempting to negotiate a reversal of the law but this case is likely to now prevent this from being possible. Shatto’s death occurred 3 weeks after the introduction of this law so is of prime importance to the Russian government.  There is a lot of emotional charge behind the case from both sides of the Atlantic with a US government member calling for an end to sensationalist reports of the tragedy on an online blog and a Russian government member posting extremely angry and provocative updates about the incident on Twitter. A large rally is imminently planned and will call for Shatto’s brother, adopted by the same US couple, to be returned to Russia.