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Orphan Natalia Grace’s age finally proven, but new shocking twist revealed

Click to play video: '‘The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks’ trailer'
‘The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks’ trailer
WATCH: Natalia Grace shares her side of the story of what happened behind the closed doors of the Barnett family home and address allegations against her head on – Jan 5, 2024

NOTE: This story contains graphic and disturbing details. Please read at your own discretion.

The latest instalment of a docuseries exploring the identity of Ukrainian orphan Natalia Grace, whose adoptive parents claimed was actually an adult woman and terrorized their family from 2010 to 2013, has proven her true age but also left audiences with even more unanswered questions about the young woman.

The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks is the follow-up to the 2023 docuseries that zeroed in on Natalia’s adoptive parents, Kristine and Michael Barnett, who were charged with multiple counts of neglect and accused of abandoning Natalia at a rented Indiana apartment in 2013 and moving to Canada.

The Barnetts previously claimed that Natalia was not six years old when they adopted her in 2010, but rather said she was a 20-year-old sociopath who tried to kill them.

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Natalia, who has a rare form of dwarfism called spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, has always maintained that she was indeed a child and was mistreated by her adoptive parents.

Natalia Grace speaks out in a new series, alleging she was the victim of abuse at the hands of her adoptive parents.
Natalia Grace speaks out in a new series, alleging she was the victim of abuse at the hands of her adoptive parents. Investigation Discovery / YouTube

Now, however, Natalia’s claims about her age have been proven.

According to People, a DNA blood test, the results of which were revealed in the first episode of the series earlier this week, found that Natalia is approximately 22 years old — suggesting that she was 9 when she was adopted by the Barnetts.

“This one little piece of paper throws every single lie that the Barnetts has said right into the trash with a match,” Natalia said in the premiere episode.

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“This is so big. Because literally, 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.”

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“It just proves that I was not lying about my age,” she continued. “They ignored everything that was pointing to the truth just so they could create this stupid lie. They knew it and they still did what they did.”

Kristine Barnett, left, and Michael Barnett are shown in these mugshot photos from September 2019. Tippecanoe County Jail

Natalia was adopted from the foster system two years after arriving in the United States from Ukraine. A doctor who examined her that year determined she was about eight years old, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Associated Press.

Michael Barnett told a detective in 2019 that he and his wife had Natalia’s age legally changed to 22 in June of 2012. He also claimed that Kristine instructed Natalia to tell anyone who asked that she “looks young but was actually 22.”

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The affidavit said the Barnetts left Natalia at an apartment in Lafayette, Ind., in 2013 and moved to Canada with their three biological sons, while continuing to pay her rent. The affidavit did not specify how long the girl lived alone at the apartment, or why it took so long for prosecutors to lay charges against the couple in an investigation that started in September 2014. The document also did not say where the Barnetts moved to in Canada.

Michael was found not guilty of the charges in 2022 and prosecutors dropped the case against Kristine in March of last year.

The docuseries’ first blockbuster season, which aired in July 2023, examined claims by the now-divorced Barnetts that accused Natalia of posing as a child while trying to poison Kristine, trying to get their sons run over by throwing their toys into the street and brandishing a knife while standing near the Barnett’s bed late at night.

The second season attempted to answer the question of the Barnetts’ motive for trying to paint their adopted daughter as a sociopathic adult.

Legal expert Beth Karas suggested to The Hollywood Reporter that Kristine hatched a three-prong plan to rid Natalia from their lives, which included absolving their responsibility for the girl by legally changing her age, trying to find a way to put Natalia in prison or a psychiatric facility and, eventually, abandoning her and leaving the U.S.

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In the docuseries, Natalia also levels her own slew of alleged abuses back at the Barnetts, claiming that Kristine pepper-sprayed her twice, forced her to take medications at high doses with the intent of overdosing, as well as accusing Kristine of forcing her to insert a tampon when she was just 7 years old and causing her to bleed — which she claims Kristine then used to try to prove that Natalia was already menstruating.

The series also details the relationship between Natalia and her new adoptive parents, Bishop Antwon Mans and his wife Cynthia, and the last 90 seconds drops a shocking new twist, leaving the series on a cliffhanger that lends itself exceptionally well to another sequel season, should producers be given the go-ahead.

“Something ain’t right with Natalia,” Bishop Mans is heard saying in an audio clip voiceover, that he sent to the show’s producers just two weeks before the series’ premiere. “This girl is tweakin’. I feel like she’s the enemy of the house. And she said to us we have held her hostage.”

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Cynthia can be heard in the voiceover backing Bishop’s claims, saying, “Natalia is stabbing her family in the back over a complete lie,” to which the Bishop adds, “We’re done. We’re done with her.”

Jason Sarlanis, president of Turner Networks and Investigation Discovery, the network that produced and aired the series, told The Hollywood Reporter that the call from the Mans left the crew “thoroughly shocked” because they “genuinely thought Natalia had found a happy ending with her new family.”

“Our series was already finished and locked, but we instantly mobilized with our producers to ensure that this shocking development was included in our finale. Our viewers are so invested in Natalia’s case we felt our series needed to reflect the constantly shifting truth of her situation. One thing has always proven to be true with Natalia’s story — nothing is ever what it seems,” he said.

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Kristine also took to Facebook this week to share a lengthy post with her thoughts on the series and Natalia’s allegations, writing, “it was eerie watching (Natalia) as if she was very well coached in how she was dressed and behaved and presented herself.”

Kristine maintained in her writing that Natalia was never abused by anyone in the Barnett family.

“Natalia was a very much loved and cared for member of my family,” Kristine wrote. “Nobody ever took a belt to Natalia and the allegations that she was ‘beaten’ are just plain false. Any discipline of Natalia was very minimal and was not out of the bounds of normal parenting.”

“We all felt a tremendous amount of sympathy for Natalia and loved her while she lived with us,” she added. “As a parent, I have had good and bad days as a mom… I am certainly not going to claim I was a perfect mom.”

‘The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks’ can be streamed in Canada through select On Demand platforms. Check your guide for availability.

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