Actual crime viewers all had the same question after the Curious Case of Natalia Grace documentary series was announced in April 2023: Who is Natalia Grace Barnett and what is her story?
The case of the orphan captivated the country, mainly because many ardent horror fans went as far as to question whether the 2009 film Orphan was based on this real-life incident.
Who Is Natalia Grace Barnett?
In April 2010, Michael and Kristine Barnett adopted Natalia, a Ukrainian orphan. The couple underwent an urgent adoption procedure for the child, who they were informed was 6 years old.
The Florida couple later became worried about Natalia’s allegedly troubling behavior and thought she was an adult with spondyloepiphyseal dwarfism, a type of dwarfism.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, spondyloepiphyseal (SEDc) is “a rare genetic disorder that results in short stature and skeletal anomalies that primarily affect the spine and long bones of the arms and legs.”
Michael and Kristine were concerned for their three biological children after Natalia allegedly displayed violent and aggressive behavior while staying home with the Barnett family. The couple, Natalia, attempted to stab the family while fast asleep.
One of the Barnett sons allegedly claimed in the ID docuseries trailer that he “didn’t feel safe around Natalia.” Michael further asserted that when he awoke, Natalia held a knife at the foot of his and Kristine’s bed.
Michael stated that he and his ex-wife were “told by doctors [that] this person is a sociopath, this person is a con artist, you are all in danger.”
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Where Is Natalia Grace Now?
In 2013, Natalia remained in America in a rental apartment in Lafayette, Indiana, while the Barnetts relocated to Canada. Later, Michael and Kristine divorced, but they still insisted that their adopted child was theirs.
Even though Michael and Kristine petitioned the Marion County Probate Court in 2012 to change Natalia’s birth year from 2003 to 1989, they ultimately found themselves in legal trouble in Indiana.
In September 2019, the parents were accused of neglect on many counts. Michael was charged with several offenses, including conspiracy to neglect a dependent, neglect of a dependent causing bodily harm, neglect of a dependent causing severe physical damage, and neglect of a dependent causing bodily injury.
Michael was, however, found not guilty on all four counts of neglect of a dependent in February 2022. In October 2022, he then appeared in court for his trial.
Less than a month before Kristine’s scheduled trial, in March 2023, the charges against her were dropped after the father of three was found not guilty.
You might also be interested in taking a look at the tweet that was provided by Good Morning America down below:
“I certainly don’t believe she’s 30 years old.” @DrPhil tells @GStephanopoulos about his exclusive interview with Natalia Barnett, whose former adoptive parents are now facing jail time. https://t.co/XBlzc9Sivo pic.twitter.com/6lKS5GtkM3
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 7, 2019
Natalia Grace appears to be still alive and well as of right now in Indiana. She even appeared on Dr. Phil in November 2019 with a family who had taken her in after she was given a place to live. During the interview, Antwon and Cynthia Mans joined Natalia, saying they had no worries about her.
“We have other children. We have a grandson,” Cynthia explained at the time, adding, “[Natalia] does nothing but love her siblings and her nephew.”
Natalia gave testimony in Michael’s Indiana trial in October of 2022, three years later.
“I wanted to be with the Barnetts. I wanted to live with them,” she said while explaining why she didn’t want to live alone.
Was Natalia Grace Really A Child?
Natalia’s birth year was legally changed from 2003 to 1989. Still, in an interview with Daily Mail TV in October 2019, a woman named Anna Volodymyrivna Gava—who claimed to be Natalia’s biological mother—came forward to share her alleged side.
According to Anna’s interview, she was “forced to give up Natalia 16 years ago, when the girl was an infant.”
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For almost 4 years, Jason Martin has been a freelance writer for newspapers, journals, blogs, books, and online material. He covers the most recent news as well as many other topics.