The Curious Case of Natalia Grace docuseries has shed light on the mystery surrounding former orphan Natalia Grace Mans (née Barnett) and her adoptive parents, Michael and Kristine Barnett. Avid true crime viewers are divided over whether or not the Barnetts were right: Is Natalia really an adult or was she a child when they adopted her? Since the family ultimately parted ways with their adoptive daughter, viewers want to know what happened to Michael after he ran into trouble with the law. 

Keep reading to get an update on where Michael is today. 

What Happened to Michael Barnett? 

Michael and his ex-wife, Kristine, adopted Natalia in April 2010 from Ukraine through an emergency adoption process. Shortly after bringing her home, the then-couple allegedly started noticing concerning behavior from their new family member, whom they were told was 6 years old at the time. 

“You’re gonna get the truth,” Michael said in the trailer for the Curious Case of Natalia Grace ID docuseries. “I will pre-warn you, you might not like the truth. April 26, 2010: that’s the day we adopted Natalia. We had no idea what we were dealing with.” 

Throughout the teaser clip, Michael claimed that Natalia “threatened to stab [his biological] sons.” “One night, I open my eyes, and Natalia is standing at the foot of the bed with a knife in her hand,” he added in the trailer. 

In addition to the stabbing attempt accusations, Michael also alleged over the years that Natalia tried to poison Kristin’s coffee and push her into an electric fence. 

Due to her alleged violent behavior, the Barnetts claimed that Natalia was actually an adult woman instead of a child, living with a form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SEDc), which allegedly caused her to appear smaller in stature. 

In 2012, Michael and Kristine filed a petition to have Natalia’s birth year changed from 2003 to 1989.

After nearly three years of living with Natalia, the Barnetts packed up and moved to Canada in 2013, leaving their former adoptive daughter behind in a rental apartment in Lafayette, Indiana. 

Despite having her age legally changed, Michael and Kristine were both charged with neglect in the state of Indiana in September 2019. Michael 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. Charges against his ex-wife were also dropped just three weeks before her March 2023 trial was scheduled to begin.  

Where Is Michael Barnett Today? 

Michael is currently residing in Indiana following his trial in 2022. However, his former wife is living in Florida, In Touch can confirm.  

In 2019, Michael appeared on Good Morning America to explain his family’s story, claiming doctors told him that “[Natalia] is a sociopath, this person is a con artist, you are all in danger.”

While speaking to the cameras in the 2023 ID docuseries, Michael emotionally alleged, “We were all abused.” 

In the trailer for the second installment of the docuseries, The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks, which premiered on January 1, 2024, Michael continued to defend his side of the story.

“I was never in y’all’s room with a knife,” Natalia said to Michael, to which he replied, “You were gonna kill everybody.”

In a scene toward the end of the trailer, Natalia asks Michael, “Are you sorry?” followed by a clip of him sobbing. “You’re supposed to be my dad. You’re supposed to be the one to protect me,” Natalia said, tearfully.

Following the season finale of Natalia Speaks, Kristine took to social media to defend her ex-husband against abuse allegations. “He did not abuse Natalia, he tried very hard to make a good home for her and provide for her,” she wrote via Facebook on January 4, 2024. “Certainly his own mental health had been affected by us having adopted Natalia and the fact that we tried so hard to help her and could not in the end succeed at that.”

Where Is Natalia Grace Barnett Today? 

As of now, Natalia is seemingly still living in the state of Indiana. While previously speaking about her perspective on Dr. Phil in 2019, she insisted that she was not an adult and did not ever try to hurt the Barnetts. 

Additionally, host Phil McGraw asked Natalia what happened when the Barnetts dropped her off in the Indiana apartment before they left her. 

“They just said, ‘We’re gonna get you an apartment, and we’re going to Canada,’” she alleged. “I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t really know what was going on at first until, like, after it happened. I was confused.”

In a teaser for Natalia Speaks, Natalia continued to insist she was in fact 8 years old when her age was legally changed to 22 in 2012. She also claimed that “Michael watched” as “Kristine beat her” when she was living in their home. “I want people to pay for what they’ve done,” Natalia said.

In the full trailer for the series, Natalia said, “In every lie is a hidden truth. But you’ve gotta dig enough to be able to see it. This is my side of the story.” “Do I look like a monster to you?” she added.

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