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Laura Masia

Natalia Grace’s Real Age Seemingly Confirmed In DNA Test, In New Twist To The Decade Old Saga

A new documentary about Ukrainian-born orphan Natalia Grace — whose real age has been the central point of a long-running legal saga — has seemingly confirmed via DNA test that she was a child at the time of her adoption by Michael and Kristine Barnett.

During the first episode of the latest documentary series called The Curious Case Of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks, Natalia underwent a DNA test to determine her age once and for all. The test, taken in August 2023, revealed that she was approximately 22 years of age.

The revalation saw her break down in tears.

“This one little piece of paper throws every single lie that the Barnetts’ said right into the trash with a match,” she exclaimed to her second adoptive father Antwon Mars.

“This has been 13 years of just two people lying their butts off. They ruined a kid’s life. They painted me as some big monster, when in reality they were the ones.

“It just proves that I was not lying about my age.”

This means that Natalia was only nine years old when she was abandoned by her adoptive parents Michael and Kristine Barnett in 2014.

Confused? It’s a convoluted case so let’s go back to the beginning.

Wait, what happened?

In 2010, Natalia was adopted by Michael and Kristine Barnett who believed her to be a six-year-old girl born with a rare form of dwarfism called spondlyoepiphyseal dysplasia congenita. But just two years later in 2012, they began to suspect Natalia was older than the age listed on her birth certificate after noticing pubic hair while giving her a bath.

Later, Michael claimed that Kristine had discovered bloodstained underwear in Natalia’s bedroom. The Barnetts — who are now divorced — alleged that Natalia began displaying troubling behaviours and threatened Kristine and their other children. Natalia was placed in a mental health facility, where Michael alleges that she was diagnosed as a “sociopath”.

(Image: Investigation Discovery)

Convinced she was an adult who had a fake or altered birth certificate, they petitioned the court to legally change her birth year from 2003 to 1989. The petition was granted, legally making Natalia’s age jump from eight to 22 years old.

In 2013, the Barnetts relocated their family to Canada. However, they allegedly cut ties with Natalia, leaving her alone in an apartment in Lafayette, Indiana, which allegedly did not have customisations for her needs. In 2014, Natalia was discovered living alone after apartment bills and utilities went unpaid, and soon, the Barnetts found themselves at the centre of an investigation into child neglect and abandonment.

However, the Barnetts maintained that she was actually an adult, not a child.

Natalia went on to live with Cynthia and Antwon Mans and their children, a family she met shortly after moving into the Lafayette apartment. They welcomed her into their home in 2013 and have supported her ever since.

Natalia shares her story in The Curious Case Of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks. (Image: Investigation Discovery)

In 2019, the case hit the headlines with the Barnetts going on multiple talk shows to share their story, claiming that she was an adult and her documents were falsified. Natalia has wholeheartedly denied these claims. She even appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil where she denied all of the allegations that she was dangerous and maintained that she was a child during adoption, and 16 years old at the time of the interview.

After a comprehensive investigation, Michael and Kristine were charged with multiple counts of neglect in September 2019, but due to the change of Natalia’s legal age, the charges were dropped. Then, prosecutors attempted to charge the Barnetts with neglect due to Natalia’s disability requirements, but Michael was found not guilty in 2022, and Kristine’s charges were dismissed in 2023.

Why was there so much interest in the case?

Natalia and the Barnetts’ case became somewhat of a fascination for the true crime community for its unique similarities to the 2009 psychological horror film Orphan.

The film follows a couple who adopt a nine-year-old girl before discovering that she is actually a 33-year-old woman prone to violent rages and murderous intent.

With the parallels becoming a bit too hard to ignore, Natalia and the Barnett’s case sparked a media frenzy.

But despite the spotlight, the truth of Natalia’s case has been pretty hazy.

The documentaries

In May 2023, the documentary The Curious Case Of Natalia Grace premiered in the US. Through interviews with the Barnetts, experts, locals and bystanders, the doco explores why the Barnetts came to doubt the legitimacy of Natalia’s age and the events that occurred after they petitioned to change her age.

You can watch the trailer below.

In the second installment of the documentary series entitled The Curious Case Of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks released this week, Natalia confronts Barnetts’ accusations head on.

Over the six-part series, it shows unseen evidence and footage along, with more interviews and testimonies from those involved in the case.

What happens now?

As it stands, Natalia’s legal birthday is still considered to be September 4, 1989. So while Natalia and the Mans family have recently celebrated her 20th birthday, she is legally recognised as a 34 year old woman.

However, due to the new DNA information regarding her biological age that has seemingly come to light in the documentary, former prosecutor and legal analyst Beth Karas believes there is grounds for Natalia to take legal action against the Burnetts.

“[Due to] the effect the re-aging had on her, she was denied an education, she says ‘my childhood was taken away from me’,” Kara told Daily Mail, noting that it might result in her age being changed back legally.

“If she can bring a case, it would look pretty good for her.”

Where can you watch the documentaries about Natalia Grace?

So far, it doesn’t seem like The Curious Case Of Natalia Grace or its follow up Natalia Speaks is available to stream in Australia just yet.

We’ll keep you posted when it becomes available to stream. Legally, that is.

The post Natalia Grace’s Real Age Seemingly Confirmed In DNA Test, In New Twist To The Decade Old Saga appeared first on PEDESTRIAN.TV .

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