A Washington-based adoption agency has asked a Tennessee court to launch an investigation to see whether a Russian boy whose adoptive mother sent him back alone to Moscow was abused.
The World Association for Children and Parents filed the petition Tuesday in the Circuit Court of Bedford County, saying it was concerned no one was investigating claims the boy had been abandoned last month when he was put on the plane.
The agency placed the boy, now 8, with adoptive mother Torry Hansen of Shelbyville, Tennessee, shortly before she sent him back, triggering an international uproar.
The boy is currently in Russia, and the 33-year-old adoptive mother has refused to meet with police.
The agency filed the petition against Hansen and the child's adoptive grandmother, Nancy Hansen.
Court papers accuse the two women of inflicting "severe emotional injury to this minor child who has now twice been abandoned by both his biological and adoptive parents."
‘Child is mentally unstable’
The boy flew unaccompanied to Moscow with a note from Hansen that said she no longer wanted to adopt him because he has psychological problems.
"This child is mentally unstable. He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues," the letter said.
The adoptive grandmother of the boy, who was called Justin when he was with the Hansens, told The Associated Press last month that the child had threatened to kill family members and burn the house down.
Court papers say the boy was known as Artem Saveliev before he was adopted. The boy's Russian name has been spelled differently in previous media accounts where the name was provided by law enforcement officials.
The agency is not asking that criminal charges be filed. It wants a civil court to appoint the agency as a guardian for the child and appoint a lawyer to investigate whether he was either abused, neglected or abandoned by virtue of being put on a plane back to Russia.
It is also asking that the lawyer for the child make a finding of whether the woman's parental rights should be terminated and order her to pay support for the child that is still legally hers.
A hearing will be set later. It's not clear whether the mother and grandmother would be forced to attend.
A lawyer for the adoptive mother did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce has said that officials with the U.S. State Department has said they knew of no laws that were broken when the boy was sent back to Russia.