Real Stories

Family Adopts 6yo Girl Who Turns out to be an Adult – The Curious Case of Natalia Grace

In 2010, Michael and Kristine Barnett met a little girl named Natalia Grace. She was from Ukraine and the couple made the loving decision to adopt Natalia into their family.

The little girl travelled from Ukraine to Indiana where the Barnett’s lived and met their new siblings – Barnett’s biological children.

Something off about her

Shortly after adding Natalia Grace to the family, strange things started to happen. The Barnetts noticed Natalia was trying to harm them and their biological children.

The Curious Case of Natalia Grace
Michael and Kristine with Natalia Grace. Source: YouTube

It is alleged Natalia Grace attempted to poison Kristine’s coffee and kill her by dragging her to an electric fence. Michael also alleged that one night he woke up with Natalia standing at the edge of his bed with a knife in her hand. Natalia was also accused of placing clear thumbtacks on the stairs face up so that they would step on them.

Michael and Kirstine began to feel unsafe and afraid as did their children.

Not six years old

They also feared Natalia wasn’t six years old but much older. This led to the bombshell claim that Natalia has a form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal. She was merely posing as a child — and was really an adult woman with sinister intentions.

The Barnetts also shared that a doctor who treated Natalia warned them that she was “a con artist” and that the family was “in danger”.

Criminal charges laid

In 2013, the Barnetts had enough and escaped their home, taking their biological children with them. They moved to Canada and left Natalia alone in their Indiana home. Supposedly, she was 10 years old at the time.

However, the Barnetts firmly believed this wasn’t the case at all and petitioned to have Natalia’s age changed to 22, which would have changed her birth year from 2003 to 1989.

To add to the drama, the couple also faced criminal charges due to neglect of a dependant – after all, leaving a 10-year-old to flee to another country doesn’t look great from a legal perspective, especially when Natalia testified herself, claiming she didn’t want to be left alone.

“I wanted to be with the Barnetts,” she said. “I wanted to live with them.”

Natalia Grace true crime
Michael and Kristine were charged with child neglect for leaving Natalia. Source: YouTube

Since the Barnetts moved to Canada, Kristine and Michael have split up but continue to believe Natalia is an adult con artist who tried to kill them. Natalia also appeared on Dr. Phil in 2019, swearing that she isn’t a con artist and she wasn’t 22 years old posing as a child.

Natalia Grace then and now
Natalia as ‘a child’ and as ‘an adult’. Source: YouTube

At this stage, the public is unaware of Natalia’s true age.

What horror movies are made of

The whole situation seems like something out of a horror movie. In fact, it is something out of a movie – Orphan, which, if you have seen it, you’d probably assume that this is where that movie got its inspiration from.

But it’s actually not. Unbelievably, this all occurred after the release of the 2009 horror movie. Spoiler alert – it doesn’t end well for anyone in the movie.

The Curious Case of Natalia Grace reopened

It’s been nearly ten years since all of this unfolded and there are a lot of unanswered questions. Legally, what happened to the Barnetts? How old is Natalia Grace? Did she really try to kill her family? Was anyone else involved?

Hopefully, these questions – and more – will be answered thanks to a new docuseries airing on Monday 29 May over three nights. The Curious Case of Natalia Grace delves into who Natalia really is and what happened with the Barnetts in never-before-seen interviews and footage.

Check out the trailer below – it gave me chills! I mean, HOLY HELL – How does this even happen?? I don’t know about you, but I’m desperate to find out!

YouTube video

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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