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*UPDATED* The death of Dmitry Yakolev/Chase Harrison and the Russian announcement; 2 agencies accreditations pulled, & a 3rd under investigation

The verdict in the Miles Harrison trial has been handed down since this article was originally written. Please see my later post entitled No, no justice for Dmitry for more up to date information concerning the verdict. The article below appears as it was originally posted.


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This piece has been retitled. The text below remains as was originally posted July 14th, 08, however the update below, posted on the 15th contradicts some of the information I had available to me on the 14th. Please read down through.

This is one of a series of posts about Dmitry’s death. Please follow my Dmitry Yakolev tag to read more.


(I am somewhat ‘late’ blogging this, but particularly as there has been so little print media about Dmitry’s death, I thought it was important to be as thorough as I could be in blogging the story.)

21 month old Russian adoptee Dmitry Yakolev, renamed Chase Harrison by his adopters, died a miserable death in Herndon, Virginia last week. His adoptive father “forgot” about him; after failing to drop Dmitry off at daycare, he drove on to work, parked, and went in to the building, leaving Dmitry in the back seat in his child safety seat. Many hours later, around 5pm, a coworker noticed something through the SUV’s tinted windows and alerted the office receptionist. Despite attempts at CPR on the unresponsive child, he could not be resuscitated.

(Among the many questions this raises, I am not the only one puzzled that the day-care center apparently did not call either parent to determine Dmity’s whereabouts when he failed to arrive.)

Temperatures on Tuesday (July 8th) in the area reached 91 degrees. Inside the SUV, where the windows had been left rolled up, temperatures may have ranged from 131-172 degrees (according to estimates by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.) Dmitry, still strapped in, apparently slowly roasted to death over the course of hours. It is unclear exactly how many hours he was alone in the vehicle. An autopsy was scheduled for late last week to make a final determination on cause of death.

It is recommended that placing a stuffed animal or similar in the passenger seat alongside a driver, or to place a purse or briefcase in the back seat when adults have a child in the back seat may help them focus on remembering the child and their wellbeing. Children left in vehicles in summer are certainly a far broader problem than confined to those who adopt, there have been multiple instances just in Virginia in the last week.

However, the extent to which focus, time, and effort, have gone into adopting a child, as well as this having been mere months after Dmitry came to America also raises questions. If an adoptive couple has waited for and worked so hard to finally get a child, should that make any difference in how much they are aware of and focused on said child after he ‘comes home’? Should children newly brought to the country, or adopted be somehow less at risk of being forgotten under circumstances such as these? Clearly, not in Dmitry’s case.

According to this Fairfax Times article, Dmitry’s adoptive father, Miles H. Harrison, (49, of Purcellville, Virginia), has been charged with manslaughter but not served, as of last Thursday as he had apparently ‘collapsed in shock’ after realizing he had left the child. The maximum sentence he could receive on the charge would be ten years.

This (Friday July 11, ’08) Washington Post article, Father Whose Son Died in Hot Car is Hospitalized, has a few more details:

Harrison, 49, was taken to Reston Hospital Center after Chase was discovered, then to the Herndon police station to be interviewed by detectives. Harrison collapsed again at the station, and was returned to the Reston facility before being transported to an undisclosed private hospital, said Herndon Police Lt. Jeff P. Coulter. Coulter said police are to be called when Harrison is ready to leave the hospital.

“If he needs some short-term treatment to get stabilized, I would not interfere with that. I can certainly understand that might be in order given what’s occurred here,” Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh said. “There’s no rush. If he needs treatment he should get it, and then he will face what he has to face.”

Harrison’s wife, Carol, was questioned by detectives at the Herndon police station about an hour after Chase was found, Coulter said. She was interviewed about background information and “what went on during the day,” he said, adding that the investigation will seek to answer what happened “leading up to that day, what all has taken place in these people’s lives.”

Dmitry was the Harrison’s only child.

Further down in the Washington Post article, Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh explained the reasoning behind the manslaughter charge thusly:

Morrogh said the decision to charge Harrison with manslaughter followed an impartial look at the facts. Murder was out because there was no intent, he said. While states have a hodgepodge of practices on whether or not to charge in such cases, doing so seems appropriate here, he said.

“From where I sit, I have to enforce the law, and the law places certain requirements on people when it comes to many things, especially with children,” Morrogh said. “It’s just such an emotional thing, and rightly so. As a parent myself, I can’t imagine. It’s just a tragedy all the way around.”

The Harrisons were still in the state mandated six month supervision period required for international adoptions after Dmitry came from Russia three months ago.

Unfortunately, his death is only the latest of a number of Russian children who have died due to the actions of their American adopters, something those of us living in the broader DC metropolitan area may have some awareness of considering the recent sentencing of Samuel and Donna Merryman for the death of their Russian born adopted son Dennis Uritsky this past April (see my blog post about such here.)

There has been an ongoing history that forms the context into which Dmitry’s death has fallen internationally as well, Russian adoptions have come to the brink, in the aftermath, stricter rules had already been placed on agencies working in Russia. Frustrations with the number of Russian children who have died post adoption were already running high.

The Russian reaction to Dmitry’s death has been swift.

The Friday Washington Post article detailed the Russian Embassy involvement:

Yevgeniy V. Khorishko, press officer for the Russian Embassy, said consulate officials are “trying to figure out the details of this accident.”

“We are in contact with U.S. officials in this case,” Khorishko said. Russian officials are also working to determine whether the boy still had Russian citizenship, he said.

Also on Friday this RIA Novosti article hit, Russia bans 3 adoption agencies following baby’s death in U.S., which I’ll quote several paragraphs from:

Three international adoption agencies, including one that failed to inform Russia of the death of a baby in the U.S. this week, have been banned from operating in Russia, the country’s adoption authorities said on Friday.


The Russian Education and Science Ministry’s adoption commission said in a statement: “The agencies to be banned from working on the territory of the Russian Federation include a representative office that violated the requirements of Russian law on swiftly informing us of the death of an adopted child.”


The incident had been expected to prompt new calls in Russia for tighter controls on adoptions following several other scandals, notably the killing of a two-year-old girl from Siberia by her adoptive mother in the United States. The woman, Peggy Sue Hilt, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in May 2006 for beating the child to death.

Around 120,000 Russian children were adopted both in Russia and abroad in 2007, a 6.4% increase on 2006, according to the Science and Education Ministry.

(The child Peggy Sue Hilt murdered, mentioned above, was two and a half year old Nina Hilt/Viktoria Bazhenova.)

To date, I have only found the single article mentioning three agencies were essentially booted out last Friday, and unfortunately, the article fails to give the names of any of the three. (I will continue to search for more details.) While such usually would be ‘bigger news’ here in the States at least, there’s been scant mention. Other than on a blog here and there, it’s gotten very little public attention.

In short, under Russian law, when an adopted child dies, the agency is required to notify Russian authorities. One of the three agencies that have since been banned failed to live up to its obligations as part of doing adoptions in Russia. As for the other two, Russia halting their in country operations may or may not have been in any way related to this latest incident.

As the reasons are unknown at this time, I will focus upon the agency that failed to notify Russian authorities of Dmitry’s death. The article quoted above leads to another set of questions. As the agency appears not to have given notice at all (“one that failed to inform Russia of the death”) were they attempting to keep Dmitry’s death from his country of birth, possibly in an attempt to protect their own accreditation to do business there?

Russian authorities appear to have done what they could, kicking the agency out, but then, Russian law requires an agency inform them if a child dies. Not every country has such a requirement.

Other than losing the ability to do business in Russia will there be any other consequences to the agency that failed to report?

Further, what of other countries the agencies do business in? Will they in any way be informed that the agencies lost their Russian accreditation, in one case for failing to comply with Russian law by reporting and adopted child’s death?

So who then, are the three agencies (including the one that failed to notify?) Well, by way of at least one of those three, over on Bastardette’s comment thread here, Niels of Pound Pup Legacy pointed readers at this page, by way of citation in a comment that contained in part, the following:

The adoption agency involved in the placement of Chase Harrison (Dmitry Yakovlev) was European Adoption Consultants, Inc.

Which would be European Adoption Consultants, 12608 Alameda Drive, Strongville, Ohio 44149.

Be sure to see their Russian program here, which flatly states “The referral process for infant boys is quick right now”, their Russian program news page, and their FAQ under the question “Q: Is EAC licensed to do adoptions in Russia?” The “Returning Home to the USA – Russia – Word Document” off this page lays out some of the follow up visits etc expected after a Russian adoptee has ben brought to the States. Finally, this link, view the letter, will take you to a confirmation letter to EAC informing them of their Russian Accreditation (English version is on page 2.)

Their basic intake application forms, both online (click the “apply online” link on this page) and printable, ask questions such as the religious affiliation of prospective adopters and essay questions such as “Briefly explain how you intend to raise your child with religious/moral values”or “Please describe the child that will complete your “forever family”.”

Further down in the same comment thread E. Case pointed out that European Adoption Consultants had previous placed another Russian child, Logan Higgenbotham (in Vermont back in 1998), who had been killed by her adoptive mother, Laura Higgenbotham. (She pled no contest to a charge of involuntary manslaughter and received a 1 year prison sentence after having intentionally slammed 3 year old Logan’s head into a wall.)

Marley/Bastardette has blogged twice about Dmitry’s death;

Another Russian Adoptee Dies: Chase Harrison


Russian Updates

She has also created and maintains an online “Memoriam to Russian Adoptees Murdered by their Forever Families,””


(Nobody is forgotten. Nothing is forgotten.)

Each of the dead or murdered Russian adoptees I’ve mentioned in my blog post (Dmitry Takolev/Chase Harrison, Dennis Uritsky/Dennis Merryman, Logan Higgenbotham, and Viktoria Bazhenova/Nina Hilt) are also memorialized on her site with details about each child and their deaths; photographs whenever possible, some links to media coverage, and importantly, where known, those who did the children’s homestudies and the agencies responsible for the placements are also named.

In Dmitry’s/Chase’s case, in addition to the more general profile, she has a few important details listed:

Chase was adopted from the Pechora City Children’s Home, Psov area; in the US 3 months. Home Study: Adoption Connections, Falls Church, Virginia. Social Worker: Christine Hessinger. Adoption Agency: European Adoption Consultants, Strongsville, Ohio.

I’ll end by quoting a few sentences from a comment Bastardette made on her own blog here:

Dima’s adoption was not yet finalized. He was a Russian citizen who died of neglect (accidental or not) at the hands of a person who was deemed “responsible” enough to adopt someone else’s child by the Russian and US governments and a prominent …adoption agency.




July 15th, 08

See Bastardette’s blog entry from 9:51 last night:


I’ll quote the crucial bits:

The English language Moscow Times reported four hours ago that European Adoption Consultants, contrary to earlier news reports in RPC News and Gazetta, has not been banned from operating in the Russian Federation.


The agency, however, is under investigation over its failure to immediately report the death last week of Dmitry Yakolev (adopted name Chase Harrison) in Virginia. The Moscow Times also said that the accreditation of two other agencies, The Cradle of Hope Adoption Center and Family and Children’s Agency has been withdrawn over failure to keep the Russian Education and Science Ministry informed on the well-being of adoptees placed by them as required by Russian law. Vladimir Kabanov, head of the ministry’s adoption department denied that the agencies were connected to the Yakolev/Harrison case, saying they are guilty of separate violations.

I’d strongly advise reading her entire piece.

4 Responses to “*UPDATED* The death of Dmitry Yakolev/Chase Harrison and the Russian announcement; 2 agencies accreditations pulled, & a 3rd under investigation”

  1. daryl wugalter Says:

    I recently adopted a child thru EAC – my 2 year old boy is home now for 4 months – they had called me 2 weeks ago and asked me if i would fill out a form and write a brief paragraph abotu my experience with EAC. But I had one day to do it – and I didn’t have enough time. The woman said it was for the Russian Embassy – so is EAC no longer linked to Chase’s case? I am confused – is it the other two you mentioned? Or all three? I wish to adopt another child in a year…Thanks for all this information.

  2. Baby Love Child Says:

    Hi Daryl,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Pretty interesting that EAC is asking their adoptive families for testimonials on their behalf.

    Often organizations will ‘astroturf’, asking for letters to make it appear they have ‘grassroots support’ when such letters are actually happening as a result of a process the organization has initiated itself. This is done in adoption in support of agencies under fire, as well as more generally politically. The ‘support’ at first glance often appears to be ‘satisfied customer’/self initiated and suddenly springs up appearing as multiple letters coming from geographically widespread locations, but upon closer inspection such letters clearly come at the direction of the organization in question. A fairly standard technique.

    Asking former consumers for a ‘product testimonial’ and acknowledging such is provided at the request of the organization in question is one thing, but failing to acknowledge that such is the result of the organization’s urging is just plain old astroturfing.

    As I’ve said, to date, the only claim that EAC will be holding onto their Russian accreditation has come from EAC itself. I’ve not seen anything from the Russian end. Perhaps their accreditation is still under consideration? As I have no window into the Russian decision making process I wouldn’t hazard a guess.

    European Adoption Associates is inextricably a part of the Chase Harrison/Dmitry Yakolev case, as EAC is the agency that placed Dmitry. There is no way by which EAC could never not be part of that sad history now.

    Further, as I’ve pointed out before, Dmitry is not the only Russian child EAC placed that has died as a result of the actions of their adopters here in the States. See my tag on Logan Higgenbotham for posts containing more details.

    Both Cradle of Hope Adoption Center and Family and Children’s Agency had their accreditations withdrawn around the same time, though for unrelated reasons. (see my post here for more details)

    The Education and Science Ministry said it had withdrawn the accreditation of the two agencies — the Cradle of Hope Adoption Center and Family and Children’s Agency — after inspections found that they had violated the law.

    The ministry supplied a list of the purported violations, which primarily focused on failures to keep the ministry informed about the well-being of adopted children.

    To get a better handle on the ins and outs of the situation, you may want to read through the articles on my Dmitry Yakolev tag.

    I hope to blog some updates about Dmitry and the aftermath in the not too distant future.

  3. E.Case Says:

    The pulling of Family & Children’s Agency in CT was blamed on the truly accidental drowning death of a Russian adoptee. The Russian officials decided to pull FCA’s accreditation for not reporting the drowning death.

    I hasten to add this little girl’s death was TRULY an accident and NOT one of the murdered Russian adoptees.

    Cradle of Hope – lots of disruptions with that agency. There was also some issues involving their connections with All Ways Travel.

  4. Baby Love Child Says:

    Thanks for bringing out some of the details E.

    The thing to remember about the FCA accreditation issue is that reguardless of the cause of death, under Russian law the agencies are responsible to keep Russian officials informed as to the disposition of those they place at least for the first few years post placement.

    It is my understanding that FCA failed to do so and that was the basis of the accreditation being pulled, (not the precise nature of the child’s death, but the lack of the agency reporting such to the Russians.)

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