The public story of Natalia Grace Barnett began in 2010, when she—supposedly a Ukrainian orphan—was adopted by Indiana couple Michael and Kristine Barnett. They believed her to be six years old, suffering from a rare form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SEDc).
However, the Barnetts came to believe that Natalia was not who she said she was. What followed was an intense legal battle that made for the most iconic true crime story of the decade.
When Did the Barnetts Begin to Suspect That Natalia Was Not Who She Claimed?
The story of Natalia Grace Barnett is absolutely insane!!! New shocking details revealed! https://t.co/XP8mtU9nxx— Perez Hilton (@PerezHilton) June 1, 2023
According to the Barnetts, they became aware that Natalia was not, in fact, six years old when she displayed physical signs of maturity, such as undergoing her menstrual cycle. They claimed that Natalia was a “con artist” who attempted to kill both them and their children multiple times.
In 2013, the Barnetts moved to Canada, leaving behind Natalia, who they asserted should be regarded as an adult in the eyes of the law. The entire incident had taken a toll on their marriage, and from 2014 to 2018, the couple endured a messy divorce.
After leaving Natalia behind, they faced an investigation from social services, who believed that Natalia was a minor. In 2019, they were hit with criminal charges, of which the two were acquitted in 2022.
Where Is Natalia Grace Barnett Now?
Natalia Grace Barnett is sharing her side of the story! https://t.co/hIDUfeRITq— Perez Hilton (@PerezHilton) June 3, 2023
Natalia vehemently denies the claims of her former adoptive parents. She maintains that she was born in 2003, not 1989, as Michael and Kristine Barnett insist.
Since her dissolution from the Barnetts, Natalia has been taken in by Antwon and Cynthia Mans, a couple whom she met through a neighbor in Lafayette, Indiana.
In 2016, Antwon and Cynthia had applied to become Natalia’s legal guardians. To do so, they needed to submit evidence that she was a minor. Using medical reports, the judge in the case ultimately maintained that Natalia was an adult.
Nevertheless, Antwon and Cynthia continued to care for Natalia.
Unanswered Questions About Natalia
Natalia Grace seen in public for first time in years on Walmart shopping trip https://t.co/bY1HeggPEo— Frances Mulraney (@FrancesMulraney) June 26, 2023
To this day, the true age of Natalia is unknown. In late June, she was seen in public for the first time in years, selling fireworks with Antwon Mans outside of Walmart.
A recently released docu-series entitled The Curious Case of Natalia Grace has revived public interest in the case. While the series leaves several questions unanswered, it takes an unbiased approach to the situation, lending credence to both Natalia and the Barnetts’ sides of the story.