The couple who took in Ukrainian dwarf orphan Natalia Grace Barnett after she was abandoned by her previous adoptive parents who accused her of being an adult sociopath masquerading as a child have insisted that there’s no way the scathing allegations against her could be true.
According to the previous parents, Michael and Kristine Barnett, Natalia is a conniving scam artist who tricked them into adopting her in 2011 by posing as a six-year-old child and then terrorized their family with repeated threats and attempts to kill them.
According to Natalia, the Barnetts inexplicably became convinced that she was out to get them before they packed up and moved to Canada with their other children, leaving her to fend for herself in an empty apartment in Indiana when she was just nine years old in 2013.
Natalia, who says she is 16, shared her side of the story for the first time during an interview with Dr. Phil that aired on Thursday.
She was joined by Cynthia and Antwon Mans, who invited her into their home nearly seven years ago after they found she had been living alone in the apartment where the Barnetts left her.
The Mans, who have several other children, described Natalia as a ‘genuine and loving young lady who has been through a horrible situation’. They branded the Barnetts heartless liars who deserve to be brought to justice for what they did to the child they promised to take care of.
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Cynthia and Antwon Mans, the couple who took in Natalia Grace Barnett after she was abandoned by her previous adoptive parents who accused her of being an adult sociopath masquerading as a child, appeared alongside her in a Dr. Phil interview aired on Thursday and insisted that there’s no way the scathing allegations against her could be true
Natalia has insisted that she is 16 years old, despite her former adoptive parents’ claims that she is a manipulative liar who is actually 13 years older than she claims to be
Natalia (left) has been living with Cynthia and Antwon for nearly seven years since the couple found her living alone in an apartment after her former adoptive parents abandoned her
Michael and Kristine Barnett were arrested in September on child abuse charges. They maintain Natalia deceived them and is an adult
DailyMailTV first broke Natalia’s extraordinary story after Kristine and Michael were arrested for child abuse in September.
The central issue in the complicated case hinges on whether Natalia, who suffers from a rare type of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal congenital dysplasia and scoliosis, is a child or an adult.
Natalia claims that she was born on September 4, 2003, and bounced around between as many as 30 different foster homes before landing with the Barnetts when she was six.
She and her new adoptive mother, Cynthia Mans, insisted that a bone scan she underwent after she was abandoned her proved that she was the age she says she is.
Kristine and Michael agreed to the emergency adoption of Ukrainian-born Natalia Grace (above) in May 2010. This photos shows Natalia in September 2012. Her original birth certificate made her nine but a court would later determine she was in fact 23 when this picture was taken
The Barnetts, however, say there is no way the girl that came to them in 2011 was only six, as pubic hair and menstrual blood proved she had gone through puberty.
They also had her go through bone scans which suggested she had been born in 1989.
According to prosecutors, Natalia was indeed a minor child and ‘dependent’ of the Barnetts when they rented her an apartment in Lafayette, Indiana in 2013 before leaving town and breaking off contact.
The couple, who have since divorced, insist that, by then, Natalia was legally considered an adult after they obtained an emergency court order the previous year to revise her date of birth from September 4, 2003, to September 4, 1989, citing medical experts.
In an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV last month, Kristine alleged that Natalia had attacked other kids, poured bleach in her coffee and threatened to stab family members and hide their bodies in the backyard.
‘She was standing over people in the middle of the night. You couldn’t go to sleep. We had to hide all the sharp objects,’ she claimed.
‘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.’
‘The media is painting me to be a child abuser but there is no child here.’
In an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV last month, Kristine (pictured) alleged that Natalia had attacked other kids, poured bleach in her coffee and threatened to stab family members and hide their bodies in the backyard
Natalia became emotional when Dr. Phil showed her a video of Kristine making the allegations against her. She denied the claims and insisted that she never wished any harm on the Barnetts
Dr. Phil played portions of Kristine’s interview when speaking to Natalia.
She got emotional as she denied the claims and insisted that she never wished any harm on the Barnetts or their sons.
She said that the only reason she would go into their room while they slept was for comfort after a nightmare.
Natalia also addressed Kristine’s claims that she tried to push her into an electric fence and poison her by spraying cleaning solution into her coffee – describing the first incident as an accident and claiming the second was an outright twisting of the truth.
Asked about Kristine’s story of finding period blood on Natalia’s clothes, she and her new parents both said she still hadn’t started menstruating.
Natalia said that Kristine forced her to insert a tampon on one occasion, which resulted in blood that she passed off as a period.
The building in Lafayette, Indiana, where Kristine and Michael Barnett rented an apartment for Natalia to live in after they left for Canada is shown above
Cynthia recounted the first time she met Natalia when the girl was sitting on the porch outside the apartment
Cynthia recounted the first time she met Natalia when the girl was sitting on the porch outside the apartment the Barnetts rented for her when they moved to Canada.
She said she initially didn’t believe the girl’s story about living all alone, but said it was obvious when she saw the inside of the apartment.
‘She took me over to her house and it was definitely her apartment. She had a bed in there, she headed TV, she had a boxed food in her freezer,’ Cynthia said.
‘I was like: “I have a couple of kids at home, come down you can play with them and talk with us.” So she came to our house and hung out down there and she never left.’
Dr. Phil followed up by asking the Mans about the past seven years Natalia has lived with them.
‘Have any of the things that she has been accused of doing, that this prior family have alleged that she has done, happened that your home?’
‘No. Not at all,’ Cynthia replied. ‘She would get into trouble just like any normal child would. She didn’t display any kind of psychotic behavior.
‘We have had three kids since she has been with us. She has been there for the delivery of one literally in the delivery room when her brother was born. She is amazing.’
The Mans, who have several other children (pictured with Cynthia and Natalia), described Natalia as a ‘genuine and loving young lady who has been through a horrible situation’
‘We have had three kids since she has been with us. She has been there for the delivery of one literally in the delivery room when her brother was born. She is amazing,’ Cynthia said
Antwon said: ‘I just want to say that I love my daughter and I will be happy when the truth comes out’
Natalia said: ‘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 want them to see how my little sister and my brother see me’
TIMELINE FOR NATALIA BARNETT
September 2003: Anna Gava said she gave birth to Natalia in the Ukraine.
October 2003: Anna gives Natalia up for adoption.
2008: Natalia arrives in the United States and was adopted by New Hampshire couple Dyan and Gary Ciccone.
April 2010: Natalia is in the care of an adoption agency in Florida who offered Kristine and Michael Barnett the opportunity to adopt her.
2010: The Barnetts take her to Manning Children’s Hospital to have her bone density tested. The results estimate she is eight years old.
2012: The Barnetts take Natalia again to have her bone density tested. This test suggests she is 11 years old.
2012: A court decision declares Natalia was an adult born in 1989.
2013: The Barnetts leave for Canada and rent Natalia an apartment in Lafayette, Indiana, cutting off all communication with her.
2013- 2016: Couple Anton and Cynthia Bishop-Mans come into Natalia’s life.
2016: The Bishop-Mans file to become Natalia’s legal guardians, describing her as an ‘alleged incapacitated person’ who was 13 or 14 years old.
September 2019: The Barnetts are charged with child neglect.
September 2019: DailyMail.com discovers Natalia is living with the Bishop Mans.
Cynthia went on to present her theory that Kristine and Michael threw Natalia out because they didn’t want to be responsible for her medical bills.
‘I think Kristine felt like it was a burden,’ she said before pausing to tell Natalia: ‘You are not a burden to me.’
‘I think Kristine felt like she wasn’t going to be this role model mother that she was until this came out. I believe that there is something that she is hiding, that she didn’t want to get out.
‘Because when we got her, the first thing she said we got a call from Kristine and she said take her to a psychiatric facility and get her evaluated because she is crazy.
‘Don’t believe a word she has to say.’
Dr. Phil wrapped up the interview by asking the trio what they hope will happen to the Barnetts.
Natalia answered first, saying: ‘I just want them to give up on the whole charade. I don’t want them to just keep on with this, I want them to have their normal lives back after this is all over and they did their time.’
She said that she doesn’t want the Barnetts to go to prison, but feels that is what they deserve.
‘It’s not right to do that to a child. I don’t want it to happen to anybody else, but if it did have to come to that then they should do the responsible thing, do their time come and get it over with and get right with God.
Cynthia agreed, saying: ‘I do believe they should serve some time for what they did. My hope is that this will never happen to another child again.’
‘I think that they should know that what they did was wrong. Above all I want them to know that our family still loves them. We pray for them.’
Antwon added: ‘I just want people to know who Natalia is. Without somebody else trying to paint a picture of her of who they think she is because of the media.
‘She is a genuine and loving young lady who’s just been through a horrible situation.
‘I just want to say that I love my daughter and I will be happy when the truth comes out.’
Natalia went on to say: ‘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 them to be scared to come to me and say hi because of what they have read. I want them to see the genuine me and I want them to see how my little sister and my brother see me.’
Natalia claims that she was born on September 4, 2003, and bounced around between as many as 30 different foster homes before landing with the Barnetts when she was six