Chase Harrison (Dmitry Yakovlev)

21 month old boy from Pechory, Pskov, Russia, adopted by Miles and Carol Harrison. His adoptive father left him in the car for hours while being at work, causing Chase to die of the heat. He'd been adopted only three months before.

Miles Harrison was acquitted on involuntary manslaughter charges.
Date: 2008-07-08
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Lethal neglect
Abuser: Adoptive father


Organizations: Adoption Home Studies and Placement Services Inc. dba Adoption Connections (Falls Church, VA)
Persons: Christine Hessinger



Herndon, Virginia
United States
See map: Google Maps
DocumentDatesort icon
TFR promises to punish those responsible for the deaths of Americans orphans from Russia2013-02-21
Duma demands SC initiate investigation into the killing of Maxim Kuzmin2013-02-19
Russians say they’ll name their Magnitsky-retaliation law after baby who died in a hot car in Va.2012-12-11
Magnitsky List Counterpart to Stress Adoption Deaths2012-12-11
Fatal Distraction2009-03-08
Purcellville case leads to U.S.-Russia dispute2009-02-05
U.S. urges Russia to sign adoption treaty2009-01-11
Adoptions examined after Russian boy dies 2009-01-02
U.S. State Dept. reacts to Russian outrage in Fairfax County court case2008-12-24
Russia slams acquittal of U.S. man over Russian-born son's death2008-12-18
Moscow outraged over manslaughter of adopted Russian boy2008-12-18
Ministery of foreign affairs of the Russian Federation - response to Miles Harrison acquittal2008-12-18
Father Acquitted of Manslaughter in Son's Death in Car2008-12-17
Purcellville Man Acquitted In Death of Son in Car2008-12-17
On Stand, Man Tells Of Son's Death in Car2008-12-17
Judge Upholds Charge Against Father of Toddler Left in Hot Car2008-12-16
Father Indicted in Toddler's Death in Hot SUV2008-07-23
Purcellville toddler remembered2008-07-22
UPDATE: Grand Jury Might Get Case Of Boy's Death2008-07-21
U.S.-Russian tensions rise over infant’s death2008-07-16
Purcellville man charged in toddler's death2008-07-15
Russia calls for full probe into death of adopted baby in U.S.2008-07-15
His foster parents wanted to give Dima the world. But he died instead...2008-07-15
2 Adoption Agencies Barred After Boy's Death2008-07-15
Russia cut off adoptive parents2008-07-12
Man arrested in death of adopted son2008-07-11
Russia bans adoptions international organizations2008-07-11
Russia bans 3 adoption agencies following baby's death in U.S.2008-07-11
Father Whose Son Died in Hot Car Is Hospitalized2008-07-11
A number of international organizations withdrawn permission for adoptions of Russian children2008-07-11
Va. Toddler Dies After Father Leaves Him in SUV2008-07-10
Toddler Found Dead Inside Car in Herndon 2008-07-09

Sad, but not criminal...

I followed this case closely, and after reading the testimony by friends, family and people who knew this man and his child, it became apparent that this was not a case of "abuse". Was he stupid? Yes. Did he intentionally hurt the boy? No. He loved this boy and he did not intentionally hurt him. He forgot to drop him off at daycare and left the boy in the car. Someone commented on another site that "maybe when God doesn't allow you to have children, that is His way of telling you that you should not be a parent". I've never read anything so stupid in my life. Thousands of kids are adopted each year and most of them have good lives. I responded to that comment by writing, "maybe when someone is unable to have a child it's God's way of telling them to adopt (if they can)". It's sad that Russia continued to vilify this man, who was clearly devastated by the death of his new son. He made a horrible mistake, and no one has suffered, and will continue to suffer over the death of this child more than this man. Should he be allowed to adopt again? Clearly, no, he just wasn't responsible enough to care for a child. However, he wasn't an "abuser" and I think that label should be removed from this page. Just my opinion.

Sad, negligent, AND a form of child abuse

Actually, according to, negligence IS a form of child abuse.

Federal legislation provides guidance to States by identifying a minimum set of acts or behaviors that define child abuse and neglect. The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g), as amended by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum:

  • "Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation"; or
  • "An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."

This definition of child abuse and neglect refers specifically to parents and other caregivers. A "child" under this definition generally means a person who is younger than age 18 or who is not an emancipated minor.

Personal opinions about the man, the dad,  put aside, this death was the direct result of criminal negligence, a form a child abuse. Given the definition of child abuse, found on a government funded website, I see no reason to remove the child abuse  "label" from the case of Chase/Dmitry found on PPL pages, or anywhere else; do you?

I added the fact that Miles

I added the fact that Miles Harrison was acquitted to the case summary.

While I do think it was neglect, I also think it was an accident.

I do think it is quite a different situation than someone who knowing, repeatedly tortures, beats, starves a child, or even deliberately leaves them alone at home on purpose.

It is quite a different kind of neglect than the kind where a parent/caregiver goes out to buy beer, twice, while their child lays dying as recently happened in Canada.

Rules on what is and is not criminal vary by US State.

According to this article Father Acquitted of Manslaughter in Son's Death in Car

The standard under Virginia law for involuntary manslaughter is "negligence so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a callous disregard for human life."

I remember reading some research on 'child accidentally left in a car seat' deaths at the time this occurred. Some people are jailed and some are not and it seems to depend on the state laws more than anything.

Due to the high profile nature of the case, and the fact that it was neglect, even if accidental, I think it belongs in our files.

I think our readers can read the articles and each can come their own conclusion about the situation.


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