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Crime & Courts

Russian adoptee's Texas death ruled an accident, sheriff says

The death of a 3-year-old Russian boy adopted by a West Texas couple has been ruled an accident, though authorities haven't ruled out charges in the case.

Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson said Friday that the medical examiner ruled Max Shatto's death was not intentional.

Alan and Laura Shatto adopted Max and his half brother this past fall.

Laura Shatto told authorities she found Max unresponsive outside the family's Gardendale, Texas, home Jan. 21. He was later pronounced dead.

The investigation continues. Officials still could decide to pursue charges, such as negligent supervision or injury to a child by omission.

Russian authorities and state-run media have blamed the Shattos for Max's death and used the case as justification for a recently enacted ban on all American adoptions of Russian children.

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