Natalia Grace — the orphan who had true crime fans divided on whether she was an adult or a child when her former adoptive parents Michael and Kristine Barnett took her in 2010 — finally confirmed her actual age after years of controversy.
Despite the Barnett’s legally changing her birth year from 2003 to 1989, aging her by 14 years, the Ukrainian native proved the highly contested claim through a DNA test and followers of the case are curious about the legal consequences that followed Michael and Kristine after they left her living alone as a child in Lafayette, Indiana.
What Did Natalia Grace’s Adoptive Parents Micheal and Kristine Barnett Do?
Natalia, who has a severe form of dwarfism known as spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SEDc), entered Michael and Kristine’s family when they adopted her in 2010, believing her to be 6 years old at the time. Shortly after bringing her home to America, Kristine believed Natalia was much older than she claimed after noticing she had pubic hair.
The Barnetts allegedly also began noticing violent behavior from their new family member, claiming Natalia threatened and attempted to kill them multiple times, and believed she was using her rare form of dwarfism to pose as a child and infiltrate the family as a “con artist.”
After two years of living with Natalia, the Barnetts had Natalia declared a legal adult in 2012 and rented Natalia her own apartment in Lafayette, Indiana. The couple then relocated with their three sons to Canada before their 2018 divorce.
Neighbors of Natalia’s soon expressed concerns about Natalia’s well being and Michael and Kristine were later charged with neglect of a dependent. Natalia’s DNA test, which was documented during episode 1 of The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks in January 2024, later proved that she was around 9 or 10 years old when she was living on her own.
Are Natalia Grace’s Adoptive Parents Micheal and Kristine Barnett in Jail?
Michael and Kristine were charged with child neglect in September 2019. The father-of-three faced multiple counts including neglect of a dependent, neglect of a dependent causing bodily injury, neglect of a dependent causing serious bodily injury and conspiracy to neglect a dependent.
By February 2022, four counts of neglect of a dependent were dismissed against Michael. After he appeared in court for his October 2022 trial, Michael was found not guilty of all three charges against him. Charges against his ex-wife were also dropped in May.
In Touch previously confirmed Michael was residing in Indiana following his trial in 2022 and his former wife was living in Florida.
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