GARDENDALE - Little Max Shatto had just celebrated his third birthday last month and two weeks later, he was found dead. Now all eyes are on the Gardendale couple who adopted him from Russia.
Child Protective Services is also looking for answers as to how this innocent little boy died. The toddler's death has caught the attention of officials overseas with Russia's Investigative Committee opening up their own investigation on Monday.
The local couple is being accused of alarming acts by Russia's Children's Rights Commissioner. The Ector County Sheriff's Office is also investigating the death and are awaiting autopsy results just like everyone else to find out how exactly Max Shatto died.
Headlines after headlines spiraled half way across the world as information surfaced about this little boy's death. Russian authorities are claiming that the boy, born Maxim Kuzmin of Russia, died after being mistreated by his adoptive parents from West Texas. In the article found in The Telegraph, out of the United Kingdom, states that Russian investigators said the three year old was beaten by his adoptive mother and was fed psychoactive drugs over a long period of time.
The couple in the center of it all is Alan and Laura Shatto. Pictures surfaced of the couple once the news broke. In one picture, it shows Alan smiling and holding Max Shatto, who's last name changed after being adopted. In another pictures, one can see scratches and swelling on the little boy's face, along with the apparent broken blood vessels around his eyes.
Authorities have not released the type of health condition the toddler was in.
NewsWest 9 went to the couple's home off Waldrop Road in Gardendale to find some answers. Their property had a sign saying no trespassing so we called them instead. Their answering machine changed and said, "if this is a reporter or a news agency, we have no comment."
Patrick Crimmins, a spokesperson for the Texas Child Protective Services, says they received the report of Max's death on January 21st and are still investigating. In a statement they released Monday it said in part: "The allegations reported to CPS were physical abuse and neglectful supervision, or simply, neglect."
In an article from The Australian newspaper, it quotes Russia's Kremlin envoy for children saying, "he died before the arrival of the ambulance called by his adoptive mother. According to the autopsy report, the boy had many injuries."
Max was laid to rest in Ruston, Louisiana. The Ector County Sheriff's Office has not taken anyone into custody.
Russian authorities recently banned American adoptions. They say the boy's case is another example of "inhuman treatment" by American parents.
Stay with NewsWest 9 for more on this developing story.