Michael and Kristine Barnett, along with their family, gathered at an Indiana dairy farm to celebrate their son’s birthday. While walking near an electric fence on the property, their adopted daughter Natalia Grace insisted on stopping, prompting Kristine to stay back with her while Michael and their other children continued ahead.
Shortly thereafter, Barnett and his sons heard sirens, leading him to fear the worst. He believed Kristine had met with a tragic fate. Barnett revealed that Natalia had been attempting to drag Kristine into the electric fence, told People.
The extraordinary saga of Natalia’s troubled adoption is the focus of the new ID docuseries, “The Curious Case of Natalia Grace,” set to premiere across three consecutive nights on ID starting Monday, May 29, airing from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT. (See exclusive clip below.)
Barnett recounted the incident at the dairy farm, describing Natalia’s screams and threatening statements, such as “You f—— b—-, I am going to kill you… You are going to die.” He and his wife wanted Natalia to be arrested, but law enforcement decided to take her to a psychiatric facility for evaluation instead.
Barnett further shared that Natalia confessed to wanting to harm Kristine directly to the responders during the 911 call. However, authorities determined that the young girl’s intentions were not genuine and that she required medical attention due to her illness.
The story of Natalia, an orphan from Ukraine who was adopted by the Barnetts, gained international attention. The couple claimed that when they adopted Natalia in 2010, they believed she was a 6-year-old girl. However, suspicions arose about her age, leading to a shocking allegation: Natalia, who has a form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal, was allegedly masquerading as a child and was, in fact, an adult woman with malicious motives.
The Barnetts asserted that Natalia posed a threat to them and their biological children. They claimed she attempted to electrocute Kristine, poisoned her coffee, and placed thumbtacks on the stairs to cause harm.
In 2012, two years after Natalia’s adoption, the Barnetts sought a legal change to her age, petitioning the Marion County Probate Court to alter her birth year from 2003 to 1989, effectively making her 22 years old.
The following year, the Barnetts relocated to Canada with their three sons, leaving Natalia behind in an apartment in Lafayette. The couple later divorced and faced neglect charges regarding a dependent. However, due to Natalia’s court-ordered age change, prosecutors could not charge them with neglect of a child.
During Michael’s trial, Natalia testified expressing her desire to be with the Barnetts and not live in Lafayette, as reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier. Michael was ultimately found not guilty of three counts of neglect and conspiracy to commit neglect of a dependent in 2022, according to the Associated Press.
In March, the charges against Kristine, author of “The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius,” which focuses on their prodigious son, were dropped, as reported by WTHR.
The Curious Case of Natalia Grace airs across three consecutive nights on ID beginning Monday, May 29, airing nightly from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT.