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A five-year investigation resulted in charges against parents accused of changing their adopted daughter’s age before abandoning her and moving to Canada.

Michael and Kristine Barnett are charged with neglect of a dependent, according to court documents filed in Tippecanoe County.

The girl told police she was originally from Ukraine and came to the U.S. in 2008 via an adoption program. The Barnetts became her adoptive parents in 2010, according to court documents. The girl, who has a form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal, lived with the family in Hamilton County for two years.

In July 2013, the Barnetts rented an apartment for her on North 11th Street in Lafayette, left her alone and then moved the rest of the family to Canada, court documents said.

Police interviewed the girl in September 2014. She told them she “had not seen the Barnetts since they moved to Canada.”

The couple also had her presumptive age changed from 8 years old to 22 years old in an Indiana Probate Court, according to court documents, although the process through which the age change was made was unclear

Kristine Barnett told the girl to tell people she was 22 and simply “looks young” for her age, investigators said. In June 2010, a doctor estimated her age at 8. An evaluation in June 2012 showed the girl was about 11 years old, court documents said.

During an interview in September 2019, Michael Barnett told investigators the family had her age “legally changed” even though they were aware she was a minor. Other than paying for rent at the Lafayette apartment, the couple didn’t support the girl financially, court documents said.
 
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Brillig

Danse Macabre Instructor
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I have no idea how accurate bone density tests are in general for determining age, and I would imagine they would be extra difficult to read accurately on a DWARF, since their skeletal development is abnormal by definition.

Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia is a form of skeletal dysplasia (osteochondrodysplasia), a broad term for a group of disorders characterized by abnormal growth or development of cartilage or bone. Characteristic involvement includes underdevelopment and fragmentation of the bone and cartilage.
 

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LarzlovesJahi

Runs on spite.
Bold Member!
Damn. Thank you for that! And the worst line:

"The whereabouts of Barbora are currently unknown"
Post automatically merged:

August 2018

I find it interesting that this family has so many photos of her over the last 4 years, and there is literally only 1 or 2 from the Barnett family in the entire time they had her in their care....
There is so much love in that house.
 
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Sugar Cookie

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The Ukrainian birth mother of 'abandoned' Natalia Barnett has been found by DailyMailTV, and she has sensationally denied claims her daughter is an adult 'sociopath' masquerading as a child in an emotional interview.

Three foot-tall Natalia, who suffers from a rare form of dwarfism, is at the center of an extraordinary criminal case that has seen her adoptive parents Kristine and Michael Barnett charged with neglect for moving to Canada without her.

The Barnetts say they are the true victims, however, alleging the cute 'six-year-old' they adopted in 2010 was actually a violent grown up pretending to be a child because of a severe psychiatric illness.

But in a dramatic intervention that threatens to derail the pair's defense, biological mom Anna Volodymyrivna Gava has broken her silence to defend Natalia, after an exhaustive search by DailyMailTV to track her down.

'I know exactly how old she is,' Anna, 40, told DailyMailTV through a translator from her home in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, near the Black Sea.

'This girl is my daughter who was born 16 years ago.

'Doctors told me to leave the baby: "Leave her, don’t ruin your life", they said. Both them and my mom told me to leave her.

'They said the baby would never be good, that she would never be able to move, that she would be chained to a chair or to a bed.'

Anna continued: 'She now lives in America with adoptive parents who want to ditch her. I thought everything was okay with her and it turned out that it's not all okay.'

The mother of four other kids has shared with DailyMailTV the deeply distressing story of how she felt forced to surrender her newborn daughter because of the child's severe disabilities.

And wiping away tears, she made a heartfelt plea to Natalia herself: 'Daughter, forgive me for what happened 16 years ago. Visit soon for me to see you.

'We are waiting for you. You have two sisters and two brothers.'

Anna, who had divorced the baby's father before her birth, says she later learned that social services named the girl Natasha, a Ukrainian variation of Natalia.

DailyMailTV reporters saw a document at the orphanage that proved the baby was admitted in October 2003. They were not permitted to copy of picture it.

According to prosecutors, Natalia was indeed a minor child and 'dependent' of the Barnetts when they rented her an apartment in Lafayette, Indiana in 2013 before leaving town and breaking off contact.

'I would like to tell Natasha that I really want to see her. I hope that when she turns 18 she goes to Ukraine and finds me. I would like to hug her and to apologize.'
 

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Brillig

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The Ukrainian orphan accused of being an adult hung out at a drug recovery house and took adult education classes after her adopted parents moved to Canada
While living on her own, Natalia enrolled in school at the Lafayette Adult Resource Academy (LARA) to work on her GED. That's where her next-door neighbor, Margaret Axsom met her.

While Axsom said she didn't believe it was right for a family to leave the country with a young woman recently out on her own, she also doesn't think Natalia was a child.

The two not only attended classes together but socialized in the neighborhood, often meeting up with people from a drug and alcohol recovery house at the end of the block.

LARA doesn't allow just anyone to take classes. To attend, students need to take a placement test to determine their knowledge of math, English, history, and science. If they don't demonstrate a junior high level of knowledge, they are asked to work with a tutor to get up to grade level before being permitted to enroll.

"This is adult ed. We cannot have anyone under the age of 16," LARA teacher Meg Foley told Insider. "Anyone under 18 must be enrolled by a parent and have written release from the school they came from."
https://www.insider.com/ukraine-orphan-natalia-grace-took-adult-education-courses-lives-with-pastor

So a girl alleged to be 9 or 10 years old at the time, was interested in obtaining her GED and was able to pass the placement test to attend adult education classes. This despite English not being her first language, and a maximum of 4 years of education in the USA, starting with kindergarten or first grade.

Sure, that makes total sense.
 
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Sudonim

Trusted Member
After doing some digging it appears her specific condition would make it near impossible for a dentist to age her by her teeth. Even one that specialized in treating people with her condition. The condition itself makes bone growth abnormal..it also makes teeth growth abnormal. SED is known to cause general microdontia. Basically it means adult teeth will appear small and more like milk teeth. It is usually accompanied with adults having less teeth than they should have. Again bringing her teeth more aligned with milk teeth.

I dont think even specialists are going to be able to figure out her actual age.
 

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spiff

Professional cat spooner.
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I could imagine the original Ukranian orphanage, or whoever communicates between the orphanage and the American clients, paying off a random woman to make the claims that she birthed the child. I wouldn't believe it for a second without a DNA test.
 

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elmgems

Active Member
I could imagine the original Ukranian orphanage, or whoever communicates between the orphanage and the American clients, paying off a random woman to make the claims that she birthed the child. I wouldn't believe it for a second without a DNA test.
OMG this is exactly what went through my head. They wouldn't want to look bad, or be involved in the scandal, or admit being fooled themselves. Then again, maybe it really was her birth mother. Ukraine does pressure mothers of disabled newborns to abandon them. Yeah, we need the DNA! This case is so weird.
 

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Brillig

Danse Macabre Instructor
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While this new development is interesting, I don't think it "proves" anything. The woman is making a claim. No proof is being offered, not a shred of documentation or evidence of any kind... just her words. More is needed. A DNA test would be simple and provide irrefutable proof.
 

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tmdgirl

The girl who waited....forever.
I still think she's a child (teenager) now. The doctor that saw her at the children's hospital was a specialist in endocrinology...so he would be very qualified to do bone density tests and determine the age of this girl. The Barnetts had their family doctor run tests on her to determine her age, and of course he came up with older....not necessarily because she was, but because he is not a specialist and doesn't have the experience or qualifications to actually do the tests properly or come up with the right results.

The pictures of the Ukrainian woman do look a lot like her, I hope they order DNA testing to prove either way if its her daughter. If it is, I'd be more inclined to take her word on the age over any doctor or orphanage and the Barnetts combined.

One interesting thing that Kristine used as "proof" that Natalia was older, was the pubic hair and possible periods....there are actually quite a few endocrine issues that can cause young girls to exhibit signs of puberty and periods (even girls as young as 5 or 6). Did they ever take her to the same endrinology specialist to look into this? Or rely on their own doctor....
 
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McDanel

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The Ukrainian orphan accused of being an adult hung out at a drug recovery house and took adult education classes after her adopted parents moved to Canada


https://www.insider.com/ukraine-orphan-natalia-grace-took-adult-education-courses-lives-with-pastor

So a girl alleged to be 9 or 10 years old at the time, was interested in obtaining her GED and was able to pass the placement test to attend adult education classes. This despite English not being her first language, and a maximum of 4 years of education in the USA, starting with kindergarten or first grade.

Sure, that makes total sense.
What an utterly bizarre case!
 

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Sudonim

Trusted Member
The Barnetts had their family doctor run tests on her to determine her age, and of course he came up with older....not necessarily because she was, but because he is not a specialist and doesn't have the experience or qualifications to actually do the tests properly or come up with the right results.
Uh. You do realize bone density scans cant be done by just anyone right?Regular xrays arent even read by your regular doctor. They are looked over by radiology, then given to your doctor with the results. Those bone density scans will have been looked over by a radiologic technologist at the very least and more than likely a orthopaedist. People who ARE specialists in those fields. Also endocrinology..thats the specialization in glands and hormones..nothing to do with bones so Im not really sure why an endocrinologist would be more reputable to hear bone results from
 
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tmdgirl

The girl who waited....forever.
Uh. You do realize bone density scans cant be done by just anyone right?Regular xrays arent even read by your regular doctor. They are looked over by radiology, then given to your doctor with the results. Those bone density scans will have been looked over by a radiologic technologist at the very least and more than likely a orthopaedist. People who ARE specialists in those fields. Also endocrinology..thats the specialization in glands and hormones..nothing to do with bones so Im not really sure why an endocrinologist would be more reputable to hear bone results from
I am well aware what an endocrinologist does, considering that we have dealt with them for years....part of their specialty includes growth hormones, so they are more than qualified to assess and diagnose patients with a growth disease or disorder (dwarfism). They are also well qualified to deal with early onset puberty since reproduction issues also fall under their specialty.

A family doctor is not a specialist (at least it has never been mentioned that the Barnetts doctor was a specialist)....I still think a specialist in a hospital would have access to better equipment, tests, other specialists and more highly qualified techs to read the results of specialized testing.
 

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Sudonim

Trusted Member
I am well aware what an endocrinologist does, considering that we have dealt with them for years....part of their specialty includes growth hormones, so they are more than qualified to assess and diagnose patients with a growth disease or disorder (dwarfism). They are also well qualified to deal with early onset puberty since reproduction issues also fall under their specialty.
You said "He would be very qualified to do bone density tests".
The doctor that saw her at the children's hospital was a specialist in endocrinology...so he would be very qualified to do bone density tests and determine the age of this girl.
Endocrinologists is no more of a bone specialist than a regular doctor is.

I never said the family doctor is a specialist. What I said is that he wouldnt have been the one reading the results. He just passes them along. More than likely her bone scans were done at a hospital and read over by the same radiology staff that took the scans..with the results being passed back to the family doctor and then onto the family.
 

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tmdgirl

The girl who waited....forever.
Endocrinologists is no more of a bone specialist than a regular doctor is.
Dealing with growth hormones (and diseases/disorders) does deal quite frequently with bone issues associated with them...so he may not have been a bone specialist, but he would have been dealing with bones in that regard quite frequently. Being that he was also the head of the department, I'm sure he would have had access to bone specialists who would also have been able to work with this girl and determine her age (as closely as possible).

If she was seen at least twice in a hospital setting with specialists (at least one), then I would think their results would hold more weight than a family doctor (does it say anwhere who did the tests he has the results for) and according to Kristine, it was he who said she was older than the age she was supposed to be. If you look at it from a medical view, it looks like the Barnetts "shopped around" for the answer they wanted vs the answer they were given by the hospital.

If the girl is currently with the other family she is said to live with, it would be interesting to see if they/she would be willing to undergo another set of testing to see what it says now vs. what the tests said in 2010 and 2012....and hopefully DNA testing will be done to determine if the Ukrainian woman is her mother as well.
 

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