LUBBOCK, Texas — The mother of a dying 3-year-old adopted Russian boy was frantic and crying as she tried to revive her son while emergency personnel raced to her rural Texas home, a newly released recording revealed.
The boy, born Maxim Kuzmin, died Jan. 21 after his mother found him unresponsive outside their home. Authorities have said the boy likely suffered the fatal internal injuries to an artery during 10 minutes that Laura Shatto was in the bathroom. Four pathologists reviewed the autopsy report and ruled Max's death to be accidental.
The death has brought fresh anger in Russia about the way they say children adopted from the country by U.S. parents are treated.
Officials released the tape of the 20-minute call after grand jurors decided March 18 not to indict Shatto and her husband, Alan, in their son's death. Russian officials have expressed disbelief at the decision not to charge the Shattos and blame them for the boy's death.
Laura Shatto told an emergency operator on Jan. 21 that her son was not breathing. Later, she was heard pleading for help as she performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him. Shatto said that she was not sure what happened, and that she left Max playing outside while she went to use the bathroom in her home.
She told the operator her son was autistic, self-injurious and on medication.
Max Shatto's younger half-brother was nearby during the emergency call, and he can be heard occasionally crying.
"Mama's not hurting him," she said to him. "Mama's trying to help."
The Shattos adopted the boys last year.
Max had more than 30 bruises and other marks on his body as well as signs that he was routinely injured by accident, according to an autopsy report. A medical examiner's investigator wrote that she found abrasions, scrapes and bruises from head to toe on Max's body.
Alan Shatto told authorities that Max hit his head against items in the home and had serious behavioral problems. He said a doctor had prescribed the anti-psychotic drug Risperidone, but the couple stopped giving Max the drug after about four days after reading about the side effects and because it appeared that the boy was having trouble swallowing.
Laura Shatto reported that three days before his death, Max nearly choked on a cooked carrot. She said he tended to bang his head and claw himself, which she tried to prevent by cutting his nails short and having him wear gloves at night.