People from all around the world have been enthralled by the tale of Natalia Grace.
Her adoption by Michael and Kristine Barnett, as well as the purported abandonment Natalia experienced afterward, are subjects of debate.
The Barnetts’ claim that Natalia Grace was an adult impersonating a child only made her situation more difficult.
The eventual result of the entire incident is that Michael and Kristine are being accused of neglecting a dependant.
This article takes a close look at the Kristine Barnett trial and the circumstances that led up to it.
Events leading upto the trial
Natalia Grace was adopted in 2010 by the Barnetts, who were Indiana residents at the time. She was six years old when she was adopted, and she had spondyloepiphyseal dwarfism.
Soon after, the couple started to doubt Natalia and thought she was younger than they had been told.
They claimed Natalia was acting puberty-like and was attempting to kill them. In 2013, the family relocated to Canada, leaving Natalia in an apartment.
Charges and trial
Michael Barnett was detained in September 2019 for neglecting a dependent after prosecutors claimed that he and Kristine had left Natalia.
Later the same year, in November, Kristine was charged with the same offences.
They were each charged with three felonies for neglecting a dependent. However, due to Natalia’s court-ordered age change, the prosecution was unable to press accusations of child neglect.
Michael was on trial in September 2022, when he was charged with three counts of negligence and one count of conspiring to conduct neglect.
Furthermore, after a little more than a week of testimony, the jury exonerated him of all four charges.
The jury took around three and a half hours to deliberate before rendering its decision, according to Fox News.
Kristine appeared in court in March 2023 on allegations that she had neglected a dependent.
The prosecution, however, abandoned the accusations because they felt they lacked sufficient proof to establish them beyond a reasonable doubt.
According to The Journal & Courier, Kristine is currently residing in Florida.
Natalia’s testimony was possibly the most moving part of the trial. She was forced to respond that she was 22 years old when asked because her birth certificate stated such.
Her terrifying testimony of what transpired after the Barnetts left was heard by the court.
Natalia stated that she was unable to live alone and that her impairment made even basic tasks like purchasing food difficult.
She described how Katherine relocated her to an office in Lafayette, where she signed a contract designating Michael Barnett as the rent payee.
Michael Barnett allegedly told Indiana State Police Detective Brandon Davenport that Katherine picked Lafayette as her destination because it was a “white-trash town,” where nobody would care about or be concerned about Natalia.
Natalia also stated in her testimony that Katherine had moved her to Lafayette after she had resided in a Westfield flat for a year.
She mostly subsisted on pizza, Ramen noodles and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at her Westfield flat.
She eventually met Cynthia Mans, who took her in and taught her to read and write, and her life took a turn for the better.
The Kristine Barnett case served as a heartbreaking example of abandonment and neglect.
A closer examination of adoption and guardianship laws and regulations is necessary in light of Natalia’s heartbreaking testimony and the following verdict.
The case serves as a reminder that we must safeguard and care for children who are in vulnerable situations.
Hopefully, Natalia’s tale will raise awareness and spur action to stop similar atrocities from happening.
Being a binge-watcher himself, finding Content to write about comes naturally to Divesh. From Anime to Trending Netflix Series and Celebrity News, he covers every detail and always find the right sources for his research.