Russian authorities are backing away from murder accusations in the Jan. 21 death of Max Shatto, a 3-year-old adopted by Laura and Alan Shatto of Texas in November, reports the New York Times. Russia's federal commissioner for children’s rights, Pavel Astakhov, is still upset about the death, but now he is focusing on neglect as the cause, claiming that the Shattos let Max and Kristopher, his younger brother, play outside unsupervised on the day Max died. "Even if she is not found guilty of murder, she will face negligence charges," says Astakhov.
But in Texas, investigators say they are waiting for the results of the medical exam before they'll begin exploring the possibility of criminal charges. "Nobody is being investigated right now, because we don’t have the autopsy to determine what happened," says the local sheriff. The boys' birth mother, Yulia V. Kuzmina, lost custody in 2011 because of alcohol addiction, but now says she wants Kristopher back. The US ambassador to Russia yesterday declined to attend a Duma hearing on American adoptions, but the issue has been added to John Kerry's schedule when he meets with the Russian foreign minister next week. (Read more Max Shatto stories.)