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Underwoods
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Mar 012013
 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The death of an adopted 3-year-old Russian boy has been ruled an accident in Texas.  This just a week after Russian officials accused the boy’s adopted parents of killing the child.

Authorities said Friday that Max Shatto, who had been adopted by Laura and Alan Shatto in November, died of a self-inflicted wound on Jan. 21.

An investigation into the boy’s death was opened after he was rushed to Medical Center Hospital’s emergency room shortly before 5 p.m. on Jan. 21 and later died.

Friday’s announcement contradicted a top Russian official who accused the boy’s mother of murder last week.

Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s children’s rights commissioner, wrote on Twitter last week: “An adoptive mother has killed a three-year-old Russian child in the state of Texas. The murder occurred at the end of January.”

“The boy died before an ambulance called by his mother arrived. According to a report by medical examiners, the boy had numerous injuries,” he added.

The tweets were later deleted, but Astakhov continued to blame the boy’s adoptive parents for his death. On Thursday, he said he was told by a Texas social worker that the mother was responsible for the boy’s death.

Texas officials denied those claims and the Shattos denied any role in their son’s death, but declined to comment further about the issue.

Friday, the Ector County district attorney and sheriff’s department announced the findings of Max Shatto’s autopsy report, which showed that he died from a lacerated artery in his abdomen from self-inflicted bruising, and that the boy had a mental disorder that caused him to harm himself.

No drugs were found in the child’s system, and four doctors reviewed the autopsy report, ruling out the possibility that Shatto was fatally injured by his parents, officials said at the press conference.

The ruling could put to rest the outrage in Russia over what officials there called another example of why U.S. parents should not adopt Russian children. Astakhov’s accusation of murder provided fuel for those in Russia who supported Russia’s decision to ban adoptions to the U.S.

The ban was part of Russia’s response to a set of human rights sanctions that President Obama signed into law in December, but it cited the cases of 19 children who had died after being adopted by Americans.

After the accusations surfaced in Russia, Max’s death became the top story in Russia. The boy’s birth mother emerged and, in a tearful appearance on state-run television, said she had cleaned up her act and wanted Max’s younger brother Kristopher back. On her way back from the interview in Moscow, however, the mother was reportedly kicked off a train after a drunken brawl.

On Saturday, thousands are expected to turn out for a rally in central Moscow calling for Kristopher to be returned to Russia.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Feb 162013
 

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Christopher Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer who went on a killing rampage appeared to have killed himself, authorities said.

The autopsy showed that Dorner’s cause of death was a single gunshot to the head.

“The information that we have right now seems to indicate that the wound that took Dorner’s life was self inflicted,” said Capt. Kevin Lacy of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in a press conference Friday.

Dorner, 33, was found dead after a standoff with police. The cabin where Dorner barricaded himself in went up in flames on Feb. 12.

Authorities said police made “numerous PA announcements identifying [Dorner] by name, asking him to surrender,” before firing pyrotechnic tear gas inside the cabin Dorner had holed up in, causing the building to go up in flames.

“We did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr. Dorner out,” San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told reporters on Feb. 13.

Dorner’s charred remains were found inside the cabin. His body was positively identified during the autopsy through dental examination, the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office said in a written statement.

Authorities said that Dorner had been hiding out in an unoccupied cabin in Big Bear, Calif., for most of the manhunt, in close proximity to where they had set up command center in the area.

Karen and Jim Reynolds said they found Dorner in their cabin on Feb. 12. They said he may have been hiding out there since Feb. 8.

“He said four or five times that he didn’t have a problem with us, he just wanted to clear his name,” Jim Reynolds said. “He said, ‘I don’t have a problem with you, so I’m not going to hurt you.’”

Dorner tied the couple up, and put pillowcases over their heads before driving off in their purple Nissan. They managed to untie themselves once Dorner drove off and call the police, triggering the standoff at another cabin in the area that led to the building going up in flames.

Dorner outlined his anger at the Los Angeles Police Department for firing him in his 6,000 word “manifesto,” and made threats against individuals he believed were responsible for ending his career with the police force five years ago.

Dorner is suspected of killing Monica Quan and her fiancé, who were found shot to death in a car in their apartment complex on Feb. 3. Quan was the daughter of former LAPD Capt. Randal Quan, who Dorner had targeted in his “manifesto.”

Dorner is also suspected of killing Riverside, Calif., Police Officer Michael Crain.

San Bernardino Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremiah MacKay, 35, a 15-year veteran and the father of two children, was killed in the Feb. 12 standoff.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Aug 242012
 

Jerod Harris/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) — Rodney King’s death last June has been ruled an accidental drowning.

King, the man whose brutal videotaped beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 touched off one of the worst race riots in U.S. history a year later, was found by his fiancee in a pool at the suburban L.A. home they shared.

At the time of his death, King was engaged to be married to Cynthia Kelly, one of the jurors from his civil trial.  Los Angeles Police said that Kelly tried to save King but he had passed away by the time she tried administering CPR.

It also appears that King’s longtime problems with drugs and alcohol may have contributed to his death. The medical examiner said PCP, cocaine, marijuana and alcohol were all found in his body.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio