Father who claimed his Ukrainian adopted daughter with dwarfism was an adult ‘sociopath’ masquerading as a child insists he ‘doesn’t believe’ he will go to prison
- Michael Barnett, 43, and ex-wife Kristine Barnett charged with abandoning child
- Agreed to the emergency adoption of Ukrainian-born Natalia Grace in May 2010
- Claims she was 22-year-old woman who attempted to kill him and three sons
- He alleges that the family fled to Canada and left her apartment to live in
- However experts carried out bone density tests on Natalia in June 2010 and concluded she was in fact eight-years-old
A father who claimed his 6-year-old adopted daughter was actually a 22-year-old woman who wanted to ‘kill’ his family ‘doesn’t believe’ he will go to prison despite facing abandonment charges.
Michael Barnett, 43, told on This Morning how he and ex-wife Kristine Barnett, 45, agreed to the emergency adoption of Ukrainian-born Natalia Grace, six, in May 2010 after receiving a cold call from an adoption agency, and meeting her for just five minutes.
After growing suspicious of the girl’s odd mannerisms and mature behavior the couple took her to a medical expert who said she was a fully grown woman and Natalia’s legal age was changed to 22.
They left Natalia living alone in an apartment in Lafayette, Indiana in 2013 before moving to Canada one month later and breaking off contact.
However, a September 11 affidavit of probable cause obtained by DailyMailTV stated that experts carried out bone density tests on Natalia in June 2010 concluded that she was eight-years-old.
Now, they have been accused of criminal neglect for abandoning their adopted daughter, with police saying the girl was left to fend for herself for three years, despite having a rare form of dwarfism that means she is 3ft tall and has problems walking.
Ukrainian-born Natalia Grace was ‘abandoned’ by her adoptive parents Michael and Kristine Barnett from Indiana, after they allegedly discovered she was an adult
Michael Barnett, 43, and his ex-wife Kristine Barnett, 45, have been accused of criminal neglect for abandoning their adopted daughter
When asked whether he thought he could go to prison over the charges, Michael said: ‘I don’t believe that’s going to happen.
‘The charges are very easy for us to defend, but the fact is Natalia not once but three times has been ruled to be a fully grown adult
‘She has been legally adult for seven years.’
Barnett says he ‘should have noticed something unusual’ when he received a cold call from an adoption agency, who would offer no information other than two photographs, a Ukrainian birth certificate and an our of date doctor’s report.
He said: ‘They reached out to us they said “We have researched you, we think you should adopt this girl Natalia”. You shouldn’t be getting cold called out of nowhere.’
They were told they only had 24-hours to decide and met Natalia in a five minute meeting, where she was already calling the pair ‘mommy and daddy’ despite being put up for adoption by her biological family only days earlier.
Micheal appeared today via video link where he said he ‘doesn’t believe’ he will go to prison after facing abandonment charges.
Micheal appeared today via video link where he said he ‘doesn’t believe’ he will go to prison after facing abandonment charges
He said they knew ‘something was very wrong’ when his wife noticed pubic hair while bathing Natalia, and immediately started to wonder about the girl’s age.
In June of 2012 the Barnetts successfully applied to Marion County Superior Court in Indianapolis, Indiana to have Natalia’s age ‘corrected’ so she could receive the appropriate psychiatric treatment for an adult.
In documents seen by DailyMailTV, Judge Gerald S. Zore accepted the couple’s allegations were ‘true’ and revised Natalia’s date of birth to September 4, 1989 – changing her age from eight to 22.
Micheal alleges that her behavior grew increasingly erratic when they introduced her to a Ukrainian friend, who wasn’t able to communicate with her – leading Micheal to believe she couldn’t understand the language the agency claimed she could speak.
He claims she began to terrorize the family, with the father-of-three telling that he once woke up in the middle of the night to her holding a knife over him, and how she threw his son’s most treasured possessions into the road in the hope they’d run into the traffic.
Kristine and Michael agreed to the emergency adoption of Ukrainian-born Natalia Grace (above) in May 2010. This photos shows Natalia in September 2012. Her original birth certificate made her 9 but a court would later determine she was in fact 23 when this picture was taken
Natalia, pictured days after being collected from her Florida adoption center in May 2010 by the Barnetts, soon had her new parents suspicious as Natalia had her period and an adult vocabulary for a seven-year-old
Father-of-three told that he once woke up in the middle of the night to her holding a knife over him, and how she threw his son’s most treasured possessions into the road in the hope they’d run into the traffic
He said: ‘She got very angry and very upset and began to lash out.
‘She would put thumbtacks face down on our stairs, we would find knives under her bed.
‘I woke up in the middle of the night and she as standing there with a knife in her hand and a blank look on her face.
‘She tried to harm my sons in a very serious manner.’
He explained an incident that occurred that while dropping off one of his sons at school, when Natalia had stolen a treasured item from each one of his sons, and threw them into a busy road in the hope that they would run out after them.
He said: ‘Natalia found something that meant something very important to each of my boys.
‘She made sure the boys were paying attention and launched everything into the air into traffic’
‘Natalia would simply tell us very coldly and very directly i’m trying to kill the boys’.
Michael’s former wife Kristine previously told how she was terrorized for years by the mysterious impostor who threatened to stab them in their sleep, pushed her towards an electric fence and poured bleach in her coffee.
Mom-of-three Kristine Barnett says her family’s experience with Natalie is akin to the 2009 horror movie ‘Orphan’ where Isabelle Fuhrman plays a 33-year-old woman who appears to be a child due to a growth condition and tries to murder her adopted family
‘The movie Orphan is exactly what happened.
‘She would make statements and draw pictures saying she wanted to kill family members, roll them up in a blanket and put them in the backyard,’
‘She was standing over people in the middle of the night. You couldn’t go to sleep. We had to hide all the sharp objects.
‘I saw her putting chemicals, bleach, Windex something like that, in my coffee and I asked her, what are you doing? She said, “I am trying to poison you.’
Documents seen by DailyMailTV reveal how a clinical therapist said that Natalia told her she was 18 during a session in January 2012.
Most revealing of all is perhaps a letter from the Barnetts’ primary care physician Andrew McLaren MD, dated March 2012, in which he says Natalia’s 2003 birth date was clearly inaccurate and that Natalia had made a career out of pretending to be a young child. He said Natalia fooled him, her parents and other physicians.
Michael explained that despite the terror she had forced his family to endure, he provided Natalia with her own flat and a nurse to ensure she was able to live on her own, which she did successfully for six years
He does not believe that he and his wife will go to prison over neglect claims as three courts rules at the time that Natalia was in fact a child
Michael explained that despite the terror she had forced his family to endure, he provided Natalia with her own flat and a nurse to ensure she was able to live on her own, which she did successfully for six years.
He said: ‘She lived there on her own while we visited her. We hired a nurse to make sure she was capable of living on her own, which she was.
‘When she was discharged in 2012 she had stated in her papers she did not want to have contact with us anymore.
‘After a year of living on her own, my son got an offer to attend university in Canada, so we sold or gave away all our possessions and we moved to Canada.
‘Her lease was up on her first apartment and it was within two blocks of all services she needed, six years later charged with neglect.’
The Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Department meanwhile presents a very different version of events.
A September 11 affidavit of probable cause obtained by DailyMailTV states that an expert at the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital named Dr. Riggs carried out bone density tests on Natalia in June 2010.
It concluded she was aged approximately eight years old.
A further skeletal test carried out two years later at the same facility concluded she was around 11 years old.
The affidavit reveals that it was Natalia herself who told police in 2014 that she had been ‘left alone’ when her adoptive parents moved to Canada, with cops concluding she was a ‘reliable and credible’ witness.
It does not explain, however, why detectives waited five years to put the allegations to Michael Barnett, who divorced Kristine in 2014, remarried and has settled back in Indiana.
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