Florida Couple Is Convinced The Child They Adopted Is Actually An Adult
An American couple–who adopted their daughter in 2010 believing she was 6-years-old–says they think she’s actually an adult woman posing as a child. Not only that, they’re convinced she’s determined to kill them.
45-year-old Kristine Barnett and her 43-year-old now-ex-husband Michael Barnett were recently charged with felony neglect of a dependent after abandoning their adopted daughter. They left Natalia, who suffers from a rare form of dwarfism, in their Indiana home and fled to Canada back in 2013, reportedly trying to start a new life with their three biological children.
According to the pair, their concerns about Natalia began shortly after they adopted her. They told the Daily Mail they noticed she seemed to have an advanced vocabulary for a child of her supposed age, plus, she had already exhibited signs of puberty, including a menstrual cycle and “full pubic hair.”
Beside suspicions of her real age, though, things took a turn for the worse when Natalia reportedly began exhibiting violent behavior, the Barnetts told Inside Edition, primarily towards her adoptive mother. Natalia allegedly told her adoptive parents she wanted to stab the entire family to death in their sleep and tried to kill Kristine twice, once by shoving her into an electric fence and again by pouring cleaning fluid into her coffee.
Eventually, the couple got a medical professional’s opinion on Natalia’s age and were told that the girl’s 2003 birth date was clearly inaccurate. Two years after adopting her, the couple applied to have Natalia’s age legally changed so she could receive “appropriate psychiatric treatment for an adult.” They were granted the appeal by Marion County Superior Court Judge Gerald S. Zore and the supposed 8-year-old girl’s birthday was then changed to September 4, 1989–making her legally a 22-year-old.
Shortly after this, the Barnetts left Natalia behind in Indiana, prepaying a year’s worth of rent on her apartment and signing her up for social welfare programs.
But according to an arrest affidavit, a bone density test carried out on Natalia in June 2010 concluded she was actually only around 8-years-old, just 2 years older than her supposed age when she was adopted. A skeletal exam carried out two years later at the same hospital concluded she was about 11, the affidavit says.
Both Kristine and Michael Barnett surrendered to arrest warrants served in late September 2019 and have since been released on bail.