exposing the dark side of adoption
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The Press of Atlantic City

The trial of a mother charged with aggravated manslaughter in the death of her adopted son nearly two years ago could be delayed because a child-abuse expert's report arrived late.

Defense lawyer Steven Patrick complained Friday that he just received the report of child-abuse expert Cindy Christian.

The physician from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia detailed injuries to Jacob Lindorff, the 5-year-old Russian boy who died of a head injury weeks after arriving in the United States.

The trial of Heather Lindorff, 37, of Franklin, is scheduled to start Oct. 7 in Gloucester County.

Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez agreed to allow Patrick more time to analyze the report, even if that means a postponement. Lawyers will meet with the judge again on Sept. 23.

Lindorff also faces charges of aggravated assault, child abuse and child endangerment in Jacob's death on Dec. 14, 2001. The boy was one of three Russian children she and her husband, James, 53, had adopted two months earlier.

Authorities said Jacob died of blunt force trauma he received while under his mother's care. He also had numerous bruises and scars, and his feet were burned.

Patrick has contended that Jacob's injuries happened in Russia before his adoption.

James Lindorff also is awaiting trial on child-abuse charges.

The couple adopted six Russian children overall, and their five surviving children are in the care of Heather Lindorff's mother.

2003 Sep 14