Max Shatto's Life and Death

Two countries loved him. Neither one could provide the care he needed.


  1. An obituary in the Midland Reporter-Telegram recorded young Max's death with a simple mention that he had been born in Russia. The world didn't notice until a month later, when a Russian official made it public with scathing accusations against the adoptive family. 
  2. Coming as it did less than three weeks after Russia implemented a controversial ban on adoptions by American families, Max's death quickly became a lynchpin in the conflict.

  3. Russian news organizations reported the allegations made by Russian officials... 
  4. ...while adoption advocates like U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu said the boy's death did not justify a ban on all adoptions.
  5. US officials asked for patience, while medical examiners conducted an autopsy and prepared a report on the cause of Max's death.
  6. But in Russia, the public was horrified about reports of Max's death, and his birth mother made a tearful plea for the return of his younger brother.
  7. This report shows a glimpse of what life was like for Max and his brother before they were adopted.
  8. And this Twitter pic shows the home where Max and his new family lived before his death.
  9. News accounts from both countries conflicted wildly... 
  10. ...and the conflict focused an international spotlight on rural Ector County, Texas...
  11. ...where investigators refused to discuss the case publicly before the autopsy and medical examiner's report were released.
  12. But with the Shatto family receiving threatening phone calls, their attorney went public with their version of events...