In the most talked-about news this month, and something that sounds like it's come straight out of a horror novel, a mom from Indiana 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 month... Even though Natalia had been proven to be an adult.
The story has been a complete scandal from start to finish, and people are torn at who to believe in the messy family affair.
And now, Natalia has finally spoken out.
Keep scrolling to hear her very own version of this extremely bizarre story...
Let's start from the beginning.A couple from Indiana simply wanted to extend their family. Kristine 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...Kristine 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...In 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.Few 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?
"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..."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...She 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..."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..."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...Kristina 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 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...A 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...She 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 for their son to attend the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario.However, 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...Last week, Kristina and Michael Barnett were charged with two counts of neglect of a dependent, the New York Post reported.
Both surrendered to authorities...And they were each released on a $5,000 bail. Speaking about the ordeal, Kristine said: "‘I am being charged by the state of Indiana for crimes against a child when the state of Indiana has determined multiple times that Natalia was an adult."
The Barnetts believe the charges against them are unfair...
"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.
All up to date now?Good, because this story is far from over.
Michael Barnett spoke out...
via: MetroBarnett has so far remained quiet, while the rest of the world, quite understandably, has been losing its mind over the bizarre story.
But he finally opened up.
via: MetroHe appeared on the British chat show, This Morning, to finally share his side of the story.
And, as expected...The story was just as creepy from his perspective as it always has been.
He started by explaining how his family felt pressured to adopt the girl.
via: Metro"Out of nowhere, we got a call from an adoption agency in Florida," the father of 3 shared. "[They said] 'We have researched you, we know all about you, if you don’t adopt her in 24 hours, we’re putting her into care.'"
Pressured, Michael and Christine traveled to meet Natalia.
via: MetroBut Michael shared with This Morning viewers that "the alerts started before we got home."
He recalled the moment they noticed Natalia's full pubic hair...
via: MetroAnd shared other stories that signaled the first warning signs about their adoptive daughter. "She used to put thumbtacks straight up on the stairs," Barnett shared. "We would find knives under her bed. I woke up in the middle of the night and [Natalia] was standing over my bed with a knife in her hand."
And he revealed the moment things came to a breaking point.
via: MetroBarnett claimed that Natalia actively tried to harm his 3 sons when she would collect the things most precious to the boys – a cow toy, toy cars, and homework – and would throw them into traffic whilst the family was crossing the street.
And she verbally threatened them.
via: Metro"Natalia would tell us coldly, 'I’m trying to kill the boys,'" he said. Good lord.
You can watch his interview here.His story isn’t over yet, however, as Barnett himself could still go to prison after police discovered Natalia living on her own and are looking to charge both him and his ex-wife Christine with neglect. "Fact is," he said defending himself live on air. "Natalia – three times in American court – has been educated and ruled to be an adult."
Somehow, Natalia was adopted by another family.She was taken in by a Christian American family shortly after she left the Barnetts.
Natalia and her new family strongly insist that she is only sixteen...
via: Getty ImagesShe and her new adoptive mother, Cynthia Mans, also insisted that a bone scan she underwent after they abandoned her proved that she was the age she says she is.
Natalia's new family are not concerned at all...
via: ShutterstockCynthia also said that despite Natalia's first adoptive family's allegations, she and her husband did not worry about bringing her into their home to mix with their other children.
They seem to believe that Natalia is still a child.
via: Shutterstock"We're supposed to help. Me and my husband adopted these kids. It's like, who would do it if you don't?" Cynthia said about their new adopted daughter.
Natalia's birth mother spoke out in an interview about her adult "sociopath" daughter...Speaking exclusively to Daily Mail TV, Anna Volodymyrivna Gava has broken her silence to defend Natalia after an exhaustive search to track her down
Anna is adamant that her daughter is sixteen-years-old.
"I know exactly how old she is," the forty-year-old mom said 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 sixteen years ago."
Anna spoke of how she was encouraged to put Natalia up for adoption at birth...The mom, who has 4 other children, said: "Doctors told me to leave the baby: "Leave her, don’t ruin your life", they said. Both of 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 tried to reach out to Natalia...
via: Getty ImagesIn a midst of guilt for abandoning her disabled daughter, Anna said: "Daughter, forgive me for what happened sixteen years ago. Visit soon for me to see you."
"We are waiting for you. You have two sisters and two brothers."
It is yet unknown whether Natalia heard her mother's message...But Natalia has finally spoken out for herself in an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil.
Natalia appeared on the talk show with her adoptive mom...
via: Dr. PhilAnd she and Cynthia strongly insisted that she was sixteen years old.
When Dr. Phil asked about why she lied about her age being twenty-two...
via: Dr. PhilNatalia insisted that the Barnett's told her that she was twenty-two-years-old and that they forced her to go along with their story.
"She's painted you as an evil sociopath..."
via: Dr. PhilNatalia insists that Kristine told her to agree that she was twenty-two, and to lie to the authorities about her age.
But what about the terrifying allegations?
via: Dr. PhilThe TV host asked what Natalia wanted the public to know after Kristine "painted you as an evil psychopath, some evil dwarf that's gonna pop up and poison their coffee or stab them in their sleep."
Natalia denied the allegations.
via: Dr. Phil"I don't want people to see me as what they have been saying I am. I want them to see my personality. I want them to see me. I don't want people to be scared to say hi to me," she confessed.
Cynthia also said Natalia wasn't at all a threat.
via: Dr. PhilShe insisted that she didn't feel threatened to have Natalia in her home living amongst her other children; in fact, she said that Natalia gets on very well with the other children.