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Indiana couple abandoned adopted 8-year-old daughter after changing her age to 22, court docs say

Lafayette Abandoned Girl.JPG
Posted at 2:51 PM, Sep 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-13 22:00:20-04

TIPPECANOE COUNTY — An Indiana couple is facing neglect charges after detectives say they abandoned their young adopted daughter and moved out of the country.

Detectives filed charges against Michael and Kristine Barnett on Wednesday, following a five year investigation.

According to charging documents filed with the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor's Office, the couple adopted a little girl from the Ukraine in 2010. The little girl told detectives she has a form of dwarfism.

The little girl told detectives that she lived with the Barnetts for two years after the adoption, at a home in Hamilton County.

Then in 2013, the little girl said the couple rented her an apartment in Lafayette and left her there, alone, while the rest of the family moved to Canada. The couple never contacted her after they left the country.

According to court documents, Michael Barnett said they had the child's legal age changed from 8 to 22 in June of 2012.

They also say the couple rented the apartment in Lafayette, because the child had no other contacts or affiliations in the county or surrounding area. They left the child at the apartment, alone, between July 2013 and February 2016.

Court documents detail medical records from Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, which show the child was examined on June 3, 2010 and she was estimated to be approximately 8 years old. Later medical records from 2012 also show that the child had a skeletal survey completed at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital which estimated her age to be approximately 11 years old at the time.

Michael told detectives that his wife had told the child to tell others that she "looks young" but was actually 22, according to court documents, although he admitted to knowing the medical records said she was a minor and he believed she was when they abandoned her in 2013.

Michael also told detectives that they had been paying the rent for the apartment in Lafayette, but had not provided any other form of monetary assistance to the child since they abandoned her.

Michael and Kristine Barnett have both been charged with two counts of neglect including endangering a dependent's life and abandoning or cruelly confining a dependent.

The case remains under investigation.