Location crucial to charges in adoption case, DA says
Artem Saveliev arrived in Moscow alone last week with a note from his adoptive mother stating she no longer wanted to adopt him.
Artem and his adoptive mother, Torry Hansen
Torry Hansen's home on Highway 41A in Shelbyville
SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The prosecutor investigating a Shelbyville woman for returning her adopted son to Russia said he's trying to determine if a crime happened in Tennessee or charges should be pursued elsewhere.
The seven-year-old boy flew unaccompanied to Moscow last week with a note from his adoptive mother, Torry Hansen, stating she no longer wanted to adopt him because he has psychological problems.
District Attorney Chuck Crawford and other authorities are investigating abuse and child abandonment allegations.
Crawford said Monday that because the child flew alone out of Dulles International Airport outside Washington, charges might have to be filed there.
An airport spokeswoman said the case has been referred to the Loudoun County, Va., commonwealth attorney's office.
Prosecutors there couldn't be reached Monday evening because the office was closed.
In a press conference Monday evening, Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce said he has yet to question Hansen or her mother, Nancy, who is believed to have put the boy on the one-way flight to Moscow last Thursday.
He told a gathering of reporters Hansen's attorney phoned his office at about 4:30 p.m. Monday to say they weren't coming in.
The sheriff said it's likely he'll have to bring charges against Hansen in order to speak with her.
"It appears to me, that what we're going to have to do at this point is dig into the investigation and get enough evidence to bring charges," he said.
Sheriff Boyce said he planned on meeting with the district attorney on Tuesday.
"We're looking at now, [child] abuse has been mentioned, but the child now is in Russia and who knows if they're going to let that child come back here if need be. We're looking at possible abandonment," Sheriff Boyce replied when asked about charges his office was considering. "What I'd like to know is what exactly happened [and] why they made these choices and, you know, who did what. Did the grandmother go with him to Washington or did she put him on a plane in Nashville and let him fly himself?"
Sheriff Boyce said he hasn't come across any federal charges that deal with the case but there should be some.
"If [there are] no federal laws, maybe there needs to be," he said, "to where it doesn't end up in a little department like ours trying to handle a case of worldwide."
The Tennessee Department of Children's Services has additionally opened its own investigation into the case.
Pavel Astokhov, the children's rights commissioner in Russia, said psychologists evaluated the boy since he returned to Russia and found no mental problems.
He did say he found some scars on the boy's leg and hands, some of which may only be a few months old.
Several Russian families have come forward, looking to adopt the boy.