A Ukrainian female adopted by an Indiana couple – and later abandoned by them after they claimed to have learned she lied about her age and was actually a 22- or even a 33-year-old woman – says the bizarre allegations against her aren’t true.
Natalia Barnett, an orphan with dwarfism, opened up about the accusations in an interview with Dr. Phil scheduled to air on his talk show Thursday. Her story drew attention nationwide in September, when her adoptive parents, Kristine Barnett, 45, and Michael Barnett, 43, were each charged with two counts of neglect of a dependent stemming from their move to Canada in 2013 — without Natalia, according to investigators.
The Barnetts, who are now divorced, adopted Natalia in 2010 and a doctor determined she was estimated to be around 8 years old. Natalia told the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Department in September 2014 that she came to the U.S. “through an adoption” in 2008 from her native Ukraine and that the Barnetts adopted her two years later.
She said she lived with the Barnetts for about two years in Hamilton County. A skeletal survey taken at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in 2012 estimated Natalia’s age to be 11, according to WISH-TV.