Natalia Grace Case: Investigation Details, Updates
After the Curious Case of Natalia Grace documentary series was announced in April 2023, true crime viewers all asked the same question: Who is Natalia Grace Barnett and what is her story? The orphan’s case gripped the nation, especially since many avid horror fans went so far as to wonder if the 2009 movie Orphan was based on this true story.
Keep reading to find out everything we know about the Natalia Grace case.
Who Is Natalia Grace Barnett?
Natalia was an orphan from Ukraine and was adopted by Michael and Kristine Barnett in April 2010. The couple went through an emergency adoption process with whom they were told was a 6-year-old child. However, the Florida couple later grew concerned over Natalia’s alleged troubling behavior and believed that she was actually an adult with a form of dwarfism known as spondyloepiphyseal.
Spondyloepiphyseal (SEDc) is “a rare genetic disorder that results in short stature and skeletal anomalies that primarily affect the spine and long bones of the arms and legs,” according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
After Natalia allegedly exhibited violent and aggressive behavior while at home with the Barnett family, Michael and Kristine were worried about their three biological children, as the pair claimed that Natalia tried to stab the family while they were asleep.
According to the ID docuseries trailer, one of the Barnett sons alleged that he “didn’t feel safe around Natalia.” Michael also claimed that he woke up to see Natalia standing at the foot of his and Kristine’s bed, holding a knife.
During a 2019 interview on Good Morning America, Michael claimed that he and his now-ex wife were “told by doctors [that] this person is a sociopath, this person is a con artist, you are all in danger.”
Where Is Natalia Grace Now?
In 2013, the Barnetts moved to Canada and left Natalia in America in a rental apartment in Lafayette, Indiana. Michael and Kristine later divorced but maintained their claims about their adopted child.
Even though Michael and Kristine filed a petition in 2012 to the Marion County Probate Court to change Natalia’s birth year from 2003 to 1989, they eventually faced charges in the state of Indiana.
The parents were charged with several counts of neglect in September 2019. Michael faced counts including neglect of a dependent, neglect of a dependent causing bodily injury, neglect of a dependent causing serious bodily injury and conspiracy to neglect a dependent. However, four counts of neglect of a dependent were dismissed against Michael in February 2022. He then appeared in court in October 2022 for his trial.
That month, the father of three was found not guilty, and charges against Kristine were dropped in March 2023, less than one month before her scheduled trial.
As of now, Natalia Grace is still seemingly living in Indiana and is still alive today. She even appeared on Dr. Phil in November 2019 with a family that took her in when she was placed in her apartment. Antwon and Cynthia Mans spoke alongside Natalia during the interview, noting that they were not concerned about her in any way.
“We have other children. We have a grandson,” Cynthia explained at the time, adding, “[Natalia] does nothing but love her siblings and her nephew.”
Three years later, Natalia testified during Michael’s October 2022 trial in Indiana.
“I wanted to be with the Barnetts. I wanted to live with them,” she said at the time while explaining why she didn’t want to live on her own.
Was Natalia Grace Really a Child?
Though Natalia’s birth year was legally changed from 2003 to 1989, a woman named Anna Volodymyrivna Gava — who claimed to be her biological mother — came forward to tell her alleged side of the story in an October 2019 interview with Daily Mail TV.
In her interview, Anna claimed she was “forced to give up Natalia 16 years ago, when the girl was an infant.”
‘Curious Case of Natalia Grace’ Docuseries Streaming
The docuseries is set to air on May 29, 2023, on the ID network. However, a streaming platform has not been announced.