Boy's Death Attracts International Attention
Reporter: Chris Cekot
Producer: Myles Snyder
Dillsburg, Pa. - The arrests of a York County couple have attracted international attention. The couple is charged with killing the seven-year-old boy they adopted from Russia.
At least four Russian news outlets this week interviewed York County prosecutors. There's interest in the case because of the boy's roots, but also because the story of what happened to Nathaniel Craver is not a new one.
Investigators say the adopted son of Michael and Nanette Craver died from traumatic brain injuries last August. An autopsy found seven-year-old Nathaniel - born Ivan Skorobogatov in Russia - had 80 bodily injuries, including 20 to his head. There was brain swelling and the child was emaciated.
"They deprived him of what was necessary for him to live, which includes medical and nutritional items to be able to live," chief deputy district attorney Tim Barker said.
"Obviously, it sent a shockwave through the Russian audience and through Russian society," said Andrey Cherkasov, a D.C. Bureau reporter with Russia's Channel One.
Cherkasov said that since 1996, there have been 15 Russian adoptees who died in the U.S. - most due to neglect at the hands of their adoptive parents. A Russian lawmaker is now proposing a temporary ban on American parents adopting Russian children.
John Beyrle, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, responded. "Ending adoptions is not a solution to the problem," he said. "There are hundreds of thousands of adopted children in the United States in loving homes, and thousands of children in orphanages in Russia who are hoping to find good homes and parents."
"Russia and the U.S. should cooperate on not only on the procedures of how the Russian kids are adopted, but what actually happens to them when they are brought to the United States," Cherkasov said.
According to court papers, York County Children and Youth Services investigated the Cravers before and had once removed Nathaniel from their home. After the boy's death, police said extended family members told them they noticed Nathaniel had face and head injuries on previous occasions.
Police said Michael Craver claimed Nathaniel had mental and behavioral problems, would hurt himself, and was prone to falling down. Prosecutors said they're not buying the explanation, due to the nature and severity of Nathaniel's injuries.
The Cravers also adopted Nathaniel's twin sister, Dasha. Prosecutors told us she is safe and is being cared for but would not reveal where she is staying.