In something that sounds like it's come straight out of a horror novel, a mom from Indiana has claimed that their 9-year-old adopted daughter, Natalia, who came from Ukraine was, in fact, a twenty-two-year-old sociopath who had murderous intentions.
Though her discovery actually happened back in 2013, the story resurfaced after Kristine Bennett and her ex-husband were arrested for child abandonment last week... Even though Natalia had been proven to be an adult.
Natalia's whereabouts remained unknown for a while, with her cutting all contact from her adoptive parents.
However, news has surfaced now that suggests that Natalia is now living with a new family... And, somehow, they firmly believe that she is a child.
Adoption is the only option for many hopeful parents...
via: ShutterstockFor couples who sadly cannot conceive their own biological child, many turn to adoption in a bid to be parents and to give a child a second chance at life.
When it comes to adopting a child...
via: ShutterstockIt isn't always clear as to what background and upbringing they have come from, and this can determine their behavior when entering a new family home.
The movie Orphan created a stigma around adopting mysterious children...
via: IMDBThe movie follows the story of a couple who adopt a 9-year-old girl after losing their own baby. But their new child actually turns out to be an escaped convict posing as an innocent child and she begins tormenting the unfortunate family.
Despite Orphan being fictional...
via: IMDBIt appears that a story very similar has actually happened in real life.
A couple from Indiana wanted to extend their family...
via: Daily MailKristine Barnett and her now ex-husband Michael Barnett adopted Natalia - a 6-year-old girl from Ukraine - back in 2010.
The couple already had a child of their own...
via: CBS NewsKristine and Michael were hailed as "exemplary" parents who raised a "child genius." Jake was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2, but he had his first academic paper published at the age of twelve and by fifteen, he was studying at a prestigious physics institute.
The Barnetts were also very experienced foster parents who ran a child daycare from their home...
via: Kristine BarnettIn an interview with Daily Mail TV, Kristine insisted that she treated Natalia as if she were her own. "I always wanted to have a larger family and I had very severe complications in my pregnancies and was unable to have more children," she explained.
They were told by the adoption agency that Natalia was 6-years-old.
via: Kristine BarnettFew details were given in regards to Natalia's background: All that was known about the girl was that she had been in the U.S. for 2 years, had a Ukrainian birth certificate reading September 4th, 2003, and needed a home immediately because her previous adoptive parents suddenly gave her up - for undisclosed reasons.
Why didn't the parents probe further into Natalia's background?
via: Daily Mail
"Out of compassion for their situation I didn’t want to press them for information on what had gone wrong," Kristina went on to say.
The couple showered Natalia with attention and love...
via: Kristine Barnett"Natalia was extremely nervous. You could see she was going to need a lot of support and care. We did notice immediately in the parking lot that she couldn't walk. There was nothing in the paperwork stating that."
However, when the couple took Natalia to the beach for the first time...
via: Kristine BarnettShe got up and ran into the ocean, after claiming for weeks that she couldn't walk. "With that, she just got up and ran into the ocean. I remember looking at Mike and thinking, what’s going on? She couldn’t walk a second ago and now she just got up and ran," Kristine recalled.
Natalia began alarming her new parents even more...
via: Daily Mail"I was giving her a bath and I noticed that she had full pubic hair. I was so shocked. I had just been told she was a 6-year-old and it was very apparent she wasn't," she added. Natalia also shunned toys and dolls, sought the company of teenage girls, and began to use very sophisticated vocabulary that was much too advanced for a child of her supposed age.
Natalia displayed signs of aggression and a willingness to cause harm to others...
via: Kristina Barnett"I saw her putting chemicals, bleach, Windex something like that, in my coffee and I asked her, what are you doing? She said, 'I am trying to poison you,'" Kristina recalled in horror.
More and more evidence built to suggest Natalia wasn't at all a child...
via: Kristina BarnettKristina soon began finding bloody clothing in the trash, which suggested that Natalia was having periods and was trying to conceal the evidence - again, extremely rare for a 6-year-old.
When the worried couple began to question Natalia...
via: ShutterstockHer behavior took a turn for the worst. She began mocking the "childish" bonding exercises that they would regularly take part in, and her mental health began to deteriorate. In 2011, Kristina recalls Natalia smearing bodily fluids on the walls, making death threats, and claiming to hear voices.
Natalia finally admitted to her being a lot older than 6-years-old...
via: ShutterstockIn 2012, during a therapy session, Natalia claimed that she was eighteen-years-old and it was found that she was an adult who suffered from dwarfism, which explained her unusually small posture. Later that year, the staff at Larue Carter Hospital in Indianapolis described how Natalia spoke about wanting to kill her entire family with previous attempts and showed absolutely no remorse.
It's a mystery as to how Natalia landed herself in the adoption agency posing as a six-year-old...
via: Kristina BarnettA letter from the Barnetts' primary care physician, Andrew McLaren MD, in 2012, says that Natalia's 2003 birth date was clearly inaccurate and that Natalia had made a career out of pretending to be a young child. He also said Natalia fooled him, her parents, and other physicians.
In 2012, the Barnetts successfully applied to Marion County Superior Court in Indianapolis, Indiana to have Natalia's age "corrected"...
via: ShutterstockThis meant that Natalia would legally be an adult and would take responsibility for herself. In documents seen by DailyMailTV, Judge Gerald S. Zore accepted the couple's allegations were "true" and revised Natalia's date of birth to September 4th, 1989 - changing her age from 8 to twenty-two.
Now that Natalia was legally an adult, the Barnetts rented a flat for her to move out into...
via: Kristina BarnettShe was placed under the supervision of state healthcare provider, Aspire, Indiana, who helped her get a social security number, apply for benefits, food stamps, and an ID. But she began causing trouble and was evicted from the property, despite the Barnetts staying in constant contact with her and giving her financial support.
In 2013, the family moved to Canada in order for their son to attend the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario.
via: Kristina BarnettHowever, Kristina insisted that Natalia stopped returning their calls and "vanished."
An investigation has been underway over the last 5 years over the "abandonment" of Natalia...New York Post reported.
Both surrendered to authorities...
The Barnetts believe the charges against them are unfair...
via: Kristina Barnett
"Natalia was a woman. She had periods. She had adult teeth. She never grew a single inch, which would happen even with a child with dwarfism," Kristina said tearfully.
"The doctors all confirmed she was suffering a severe psychological illness only diagnosed in adults."
Watch the interview here...Where you can hear the grizzly details of the adoption.
For a while, Natalia's whereabouts remained unknown.
via: Kristine BarnettAfter the Barnetts fled to Canada in 2013, Natalia gradually stopped replying to their calls and messages, and they were left wondering where she was and what she could possibly be doing.
Kristine was worried about what Natalia may do next...She feared Natalia had stopped taking her medication and was probably posing as a child again for another unsuspecting family. "I had found a little pink dress in her closet and a little pink bicycle parked beside her house, and I would have forced her back into treatment but I couldn’t do that any longer because she was an adult."
But now, fresh claims have arisen...And it appears that Natalia may have been adopted by a different family.
I know what you're thinking...How on Earth has an adult got away with posing as a child for so long? And how has she manipulated yet another family?
But the impossible has actually happened.The Daily Mail has claimed that Natalia has found a new home with a Christian couple from Indiana and their 5 other children.
Antwon and Cynthia Mans have reportedly adopted Natalia.
via: FacebookNatalia's new father figure, thirty-six-year-old Antwon Mans, was recently ordained as a pastor and lives in a former church parsonage with his wife Cynthia, thirty-nine.
They have welcomed Natalia into their family.And the devout couple are apparently aware of the questions swirling around the true age of their Ukrainian 'daughter,' who is barely taller than a toddler because of the bone disorder, spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasia.
Yet, despite the rumors and horror stories...They are seemingly in the belief that Natalia is very much a child, with photos of her in children's clothes being posted on their social media accounts.
A family friend of the Mans has spoken out.And insists that the Mans are simply "good samaritans" who came across an "abandoned child" and just wanted to help. "The Mans care for Natalia and she likes being there," said the friend. "There's nothing crazy going on or anything. These are good people."
Natalia has remained a firm part of the family as a child, despite the claims that she's actually in her twenties.
"They've [The Mans] already tried to speak to Natalia's adopted parents and tried to go through the courts," added the friend. "They are just not getting anywhere and now this is escalating."
"She is just in a really awkward position and they are trying to help her out. There are actually very limited things they can do for her because people are saying she's thirty. She can't even go to high school."
And she appears to have continued her child-like persona.
"They just so happened to come across this person that was not being treated right and cared enough to put in the effort to make sure something was done about it." Their friend continued, "If it's true that her parents had abandoned her, it's horrible."
Her new family clearly believe that Natalia is a child."I'm not a doctor or a psychiatrist but I've spoken with Natalia and I believe her. If you're asking me if I think she is 30, that's ridiculous," the family friend concluded.
The Mans had even tried to restore Natalia's original age."Natalia was living on her own and the couple wanted to become her guardians. Thinking she was still a child, the couple tried to overturn the 2012 result," their attorney told Daily Mail.
However, their guardian application was dropped due to the overwhelming evidence of Natalia's real age.
"This time the hearing was even more in-depth, not only did the judge look at medical reports and other documents, but witnesses came before the court to explain why they were certain Natalia had been twenty-two."
"The judge upheld the original results and the couple dropped the guardianship petition."
The Mans did indeed withdraw their bid for guardianship in January 2018 and it was dismissed without prejudice.
The Mans have declined to comment.
When approached this week outside their rented four-bed home an hour from Indianapolis, Antwon Mans refused to discuss Natalia's case with Daily Mail.
Cynthia Mans asked the reporter to leave the property, adding "We don't have anything to comment on."