Boy's Murder Won't Derail Adoption Treaty
21 June 2010
By Alexandra Odynova
The stabbing death of an 8-year-old adopted Russian boy in the United States will "add determination" to efforts to quickly reach a U.S.-Russian agreement on adoptions, the Foreign Ministry said.
The body of Kirill Kazakov, named Jackson Attuso by his adoptive parents, was found stabbed multiple times with his throat slit after he went biking with his parents and twin brother in a park on June 11 in St. Francisville, Louisiana, the ministry said Friday.
The suspected killer arrested by police was identified as high school student Trevor Reese, 16. Local news reports said Reese turned himself in shortly after the apparently random killing.
News of the boy's death surfaced as negotiators put the last touches on the adoption agreement, which Moscow demanded after a U.S. mother sent her 7-year-old adopted Russian son back to Russia unaccompanied on a plane in April.
"Against the backdrop of the recent tragic incidents involving Russian children adopted in the U.S., [Kazakov's death] only adds determination in getting the Americans to restore order to adoptions, primarily through the soonest possible conclusion of an appropriate bilateral agreement," Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said in a statement.
Before April, Moscow had raised concerns about the deaths of 17 Russian children at the hands of their adopted parents over the past 15 years.
Nesterenko complained that U.S. authorities had failed to notify Russia about Kazakov's death promptly.
"We noticed that, contrary to the rules in force, our diplomatic missions were not formally informed about the death of Kirill Kazakov, who remained a Russian national after the adoption by the American family," he said.
He said the boy's death was not related to domestic violence and called for the killer to be brought to justice.
A U.S. judge has ruled that Reese, who turns 17 on July 31, can be tried as an adult for first-degree murder but cannot be sentenced to the death penalty because of his young age, The Associated Press reported.
West Feliciana Parish Sheriff Austin Daniel told local WAFB television that Reese made no attempt to escape and approached a carpenter in the neighborhood where he lived and told him to call 911 because he had stabbed a child.
Police were trying to identify a possible motivation for the killing.
The boy's parents had adopted him, his twin brother and a third Russian boy.
Children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhov, who is helping negotiate the new U.S.-Russian agreement on adoptions, said the parents might be liable for negligence. "It is clear that this tragedy was possible only because of a lack of parental control over the adopted child," Astakhov said, RIA-Novosti reported.
A final round of talks on the adoption agreement is expected to be held in September, and a treaty might be ratified by the State Duma by the end of the year, an unidentified Russian negotiator told Itar-Tass on Friday.
U.S. families have adopted more than 14,000 children from Russia over the past five years, including 1,500 last year.
UPDATE: “This kid [Trevor Reese] has never been in trouble,” said Sheriff Austin Daniels. “He’s not on any medication. He’s had no mental problems [and is] honor student at school – 4.0 average. I just can’t explain. Neither can anyone else at this point.” Trevor’s attorney, Lewis Unglesby, said whether or not Trevor committed the crime is not the question. “I don’t think there’s any body that’s disputing that, but I don’t know that the Trevor Reese that existed last week is the young man that was out there yesterday,” said Unglesby. “I think we’re dealing with some very severe changes.” A judge has ruled that Trevor, who will be 17 next month, will stand trial as an adult.