Michael and Kristine Barnett adopted Natalia Grace in 2010 and were both cleared of neglect charges in October 2022 after they were accused of leaving her to live alone in an apartment during their move to Canada.
A controversial Netflix documentary titled The Curious Case of Natalia Grace tells the bizarre tale of the Ukrainian midget, showing her sitting at a table reading a Bible and telling her adoptive mother that she is trying to “get rid of evil thoughts.” “.
This clip is among a series of disturbing behaviors from Natalia, who has been accused of terrorizing her adoptive family in Indiana.
Who is Natalia Grace?
Thought to be a six-year-old Ukrainian orphan, Grace was adopted in 2010 by the Barnetts, an Indiana couple.
Natalia is now an adult woman with a form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia.
Natalia Grace in 2010 at the Bennett family home
Pictured: Natalia at her adoptive parents’ home. Thought to be a six-year-old Ukrainian orphan, Grace was adopted in 2010 by the Barnetts, an Indiana couple
When did Michael and Kristine Barnett adopt them and why?
The couple decided on April 26, 2010 to adopt a foreign orphan from a center in Florida. They thought they were giving a home to a six-year-old child in need.
In the documentary, Michael describes how the family made the decision when life was “amazing.” He and his wife were raising their three sons, had “hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank” and a brand new home.
“In early 2010 we were blessed with many things. In 2014 I had 37 cents in my bank account, I have no wife, I have no children, I have no home and no job. “If Natalia never came into our lives, then I will never divorce.”
The Barnetts’ dream life quickly turned into a nightmare when they realized that Natalia Grace could pose a violent and menacing threat.
Natalia Grace pictured with her adoptive parents in 2010
How long after their adoption did Michael and Kristine Barnett begin to suspect that Natalia Grace was an adult?
Shortly after the adoption, they began to question their real ages.
While bathing Natalia after spending the day at Disneyland, he said Kristine let out a bloodcurdling scream in the bathroom when she realized the girl, who she assumed was only six years old, had “full pubic hair.” had.
In the months that followed, there was “a strong escalation,” the couple claims. This included discovering that she had kept her period a secret from them for months.
When Natalia once met another six-year-old who suffered from a rare bone condition called spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, the huge age difference seemed undeniable.
Natalia, who did not speak with a Ukrainian accent, towered over her playmate while her bone structure and vocabulary were far more advanced.
Over the months, Michael claimed it had become apparent that they were living with a threat, to the point that she threatened to stab her new siblings.
“She tried to poison and kill my wife,” Michael added. “[And]one night I opened my eyes and Natalia was standing at the foot of the bed with a knife in her hand.”
The documentary features unprecedented footage of Natalia’s suspicious behavior in her adopted country, including sitting at a table and reading the Bible. When asked why she read it, she replies, “To get rid of those evil thoughts.”
“She would do anything she could to cause harm, distress or emotional distress to the entire family,” Michael said.
What happened to Michael and Kristine Barnett immediately after their suspicions were exposed?
After taking the child to a psychiatrist several months later, Michael said he was baffled by the diagnosis. Instead of the expected result of schizophrenia or Natalia hearing voices, the expert told them something worse — she was a “sociopath.”
As the couple’s concerns grew about Natalia’s real age, Kristine tried to get the “truth” out of her through allegedly increasingly aggressive means, including forcing Natalia to stand against a wall for long periods of time.
Both Michael and his son allege in the documentary that Kristine physically abused Natalia. Looking back on the orphan’s treatment, Kristina’s son Jake said, “My mother was adamant that Natalia was an enemy agent and not who she said she was.”
On one occasion, Kristina reportedly trapped the youth outside until she confessed the “truth,” prompting a neighbor to call the police.
However, Michael claims the responding officer immediately realized that it was not Natalia who was in danger, but his three sons.
“He knows immediately that they are in great danger,” he added.
When questioned by officers as part of an investigation, Natalia revealed that she was “told of her new date of birth at the orphanage in Ukraine” before moving to the United States.
“(The officer) tells us that he believes her Ukrainian birth certificate is completely fake,” Michael said.
A document on her immigration to the country also reportedly showed that she had not grown at all for four years, which Michael says would still be the case to some extent for a six-year-old despite her dwarfism.
The numerous red flags led the family to seek legal advice, and in 2012 an application by the family to the probate court was granted and a judge legally changed her date of birth on her Ukrainian birth certificate from 2003 to 1989.
After the couple’s petition was granted, they decided to put her in an apartment in Lafayette — three counties from where she lives — while also moving to Canada.
Michael Barnett pictured after being accused of altering his daughter’s age, leaves court at Tippecanoe District Court today. Pictured with his partner and his attorney Terrance Kinnard, Kinnard makes a statement to the press. Picture Chris Bott
Where are Michael and Kristine Barnett now?
Michael said the family left her in Indiana and moved to Canada to support his 15-year-old prodigy’s college years. However, some critics of the family claim the move was motivated by a desire to get rid of Natalia.
The move led to authorities charging the couple with child neglect in 2011, despite insisting Natalia was an adult woman whose age had been legally changed by a judge.
Although child neglect charges against the Barnetts were dropped due to Natalia’s legal age change, other neglect charges remained due to her dwarfism, which made her dependent on the couple.
The charges of neglecting a dependent, neglecting a dependent leading to bodily harm, neglecting a dependent leading to serious bodily harm, and conspiring to neglect a dependent hung on the couple for years.
Michael was acquitted in October 2022, while Kristine’s case was dismissed in March, just three weeks before her own trial.
What happened next to Natalia Grace?
Natalia appeared on Dr. Phil to tell her story.
In the television interview, she sat next to Antwon and Cynthia Mans, another Indiana couple she took in after being abandoned by the Barnett family.
Despite being aware of the allegations of abuse against Grace by Kristine and Michael Barnett, the family did not raise any concerns.
“We have other children.” “We have a grandson,” Cynthia said. “All she does is love her siblings and her nephew.”
Natalia Grace Barnett in her first television interview on Dr. Phil