During episode 1 of The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks on Monday, January 1, TruDiagnostic — a medical lab that specializes in biological aging based on DNA methylation — took a blood sample from Natalia and learned that she was somewhere close to 22 years old as of August 2023. This meant that the Ukraine native was a young child when the Barnetts adopted her in 2010, as stated on her birth certificate, despite the former couple insisting she was in her early 20s at the time.
After hearing the DNA test results at the TruDiagnostics office, Natalia broke down in tears.
“This one little piece of paper throws every single lie that the Barnetts has said right into the trash with a match,” she told her new adoptive father, Antwon Mans. “This is so big. Because literally, this has been 13 years of just two people lying their butts off. They ruined a kid’s life. They painted [me] as some big monster, when in reality they were the ones.”
Natalia concluded, “It just proves that I was not lying about my age.”
Earlier in the episode, an endocrinologist revealed that he confirmed to Kristine in 2010 that Natalia was estimated to be somewhere between 9 and 11 years old at the time. Then, in 2011, a dentist examined her teeth and concluded that there was “no question” she was around 9 years old due to her having so many baby teeth.
Natalia, who has a severe form of dwarfism known as spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SEDc), entered the Barnett family when they adopted her in 2010. At first, they believed that she was 6 years old. However, while giving Natalia a bath, Kristine found that her new adoptive daughter had pubic hair, which made her believe that Natalia was much older. Michael and Kristine went on to claim that Natalia threatened and attempted to kill them multiple times.
After two years of living with Natalia, Michael and Kristine had her birthday legally changed from September 4, 2003, to September 4, 1989, which would have made her 23 years old in 2012. They rented her an apartment in Lafayette, Indiana, and moved to Canada with their three biological sons, leaving Natalia behind. Her DNA test now proves that she was around 9 or 10 years old when she was living on her own.
Michael and Kristine faced charges for neglect of a dependent in September 2019. However, four of the charges against Michael were dropped in February 2022 because they were based on Natalia’s age and could not be considered in court. He was then found not guilty in October 2022, and the remaining three counts of neglect and conspiracy to commit neglect of a dependent — which were based on Natalia’s disability — were dismissed. Kristine’s charges were dropped before trial in March 2023 due to insufficient evidence.
Meanwhile, Natalia moved into the guardianship of Antwon and his wife, Cynthia Mans. She has been living with the couple and their biological children since 2013. The Mans have maintained that Natalia never showed any signs of violence toward them, and they believed she was a child when they met her.
The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks continues on Investigation Discovery on January 2 and 3 at 9 p.m. ET.
Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.