TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WXIN) -- A couple accused of abandoning their adopted daughter says the allegations are false, and they’re the victims.
According to court documents filed earlier this month in Tippecanoe County, Kristine and Michael Barnett adopted a Ukrainian-born girl with dwarfism in 2010, but they abandoned her in Lafayette in 2013 when they moved to Canada.
They’re accused of changing the girl’s age from 8 to 22 before they left, and they told the girl to tell other people she looks young for her age.
They were both charged with neglect of a dependent, and they bonded out of the Tippecanoe County Jail last week.
But in an interview with the Daily Mail, Kristine says the adoption was a “scam,” and the girl is actually an adult who has made a career out of fooling people into thinking she’s a young girl.
Kristine told the Daily Mail she and her now ex-husband agreed to an emergency adoption from an adoption center in Florida. They didn’t know many details about the girl’s background. They just knew she needed a home immediately because her previous adoptive parents gave her up for undisclosed reasons.
Within the first few weeks, Kristine told the Daily Mail, there were signs their new daughter wasn’t actually a young girl. She had a sophisticated vocabulary, she shunned other children, and she had a period.
They took the girl to a family physician who ordered bone density tests to help determine her actual age. The results suggested she was at least 14, so Kristine says their family began treating her like a teenager.
But then Kristine says the girl started making death threats against them. She allegedly tried to poison Kristine and push her into an electric fence, and she attacked a baby.
The Barnett family took the girl to a state-run psychiatric unit to get help. During treatment, the girl allegedly confessed to being much older, and she said she wanted to kill her family.
WLFI got a doctor’s report that says the Barnetts' daughter is actually an adult. The letter says the girl has “made a career of perpetuating her age façade,” and she has “continued to fool those who have the best intentions.”