DA asks sheriff's department, TBI to investigate adoption case

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SHELBYVILLE -- Efforts were underway Tuesday to arrange for an interview with the Russian boy who has claimed he was abused by his adoptive family here.

District Attorney General Chuck Crawford has requested the Bedford County Sheriff's Department, as well as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, to look into the matter of an adopted child who was returned to Russia by a Shelbyville family last week.

According to a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the TBI and sheriff officials "are currently investigating the acts and omissions of both Torry Hansen and Nancy Hansen."

The family have become the focus of an international incident after Nancy Hansen put 7-year-old Justin Artyom Hansen on a one-way flight back to his homeland unaccompanied.

However, Bedford County investigators have not been given a chance to speak to the Hansens to get their side of the story.

"An interview with both would be extremely helpful in our efforts to discover what events led to Torry Hansen's decision to attempt to nullify the adoption and why the Hansens sought to accomplish that goal in the matter they purportedly did," the statement read.

But in order for the investigation to be concluded, the sheriff's department said that "it is imperative that law enforcement be allowed to communicate with the child as well."

"An effort is already underway to arrange that interview," the statement read.

The only criminal charges that could potentially be pursued in Bedford County are any that may have been allegedly committed "at least in part in Bedford County," so investigators must also determine where any of the alleged events in the matter took place.

"Law enforcement in this jurisdiction considers this an extremely serious matter and is proceeding with the investigation accordingly," according to the statement.

Sheriff department officials also recognized "the concerns and interests of the media and the public" and said that the news crews that are currently camped out waiting for an update "will be kept informed as the investigation progresses."

"We respectfully request your patience as we proceed with our efforts to find the truth as quickly as the circumstances of the case allow."