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Parents at center of bizarre abandonment case face additional charges

Court hearing also sets new trial dates
Posted at 3:23 PM, Dec 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-27 17:19:32-05

LAFAYETTE — Michael and Kristine Barnett, the parents at the center of a bizarre child abandonment case, will face additional charges.

That development and new trial dates for the pair were announced Friday at a court hearing in Lafayette.

In addition to the original charges of Neglect of a Dependent, the Barnetts, who live in Indianapolis, are now charged with four counts of Neglect Causing Bodily Injury involving adopted daughter Natalia, who came to the U.S. from Ukraine in 2010.

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Both were scheduled to go on trial together in January. That will not happen. Instead, the Barnetts will be tried separately.

Tippecanoe County Superior Court records show Michael's trial date is now June 22 and Kristine will be tried starting July 27. Both trials are expected to last one week.

Also, according to court records, the prosecutor's request for DNA testing of Natalia was approved.

On Friday, the prosecutor's office released information that sheds additional light on the case and the reasons behind the new charges and the request for DNA evidence.

In 2012, the Barnetts, who have other children and are now divorced, had Natalia's age changed in Marion County Probate Court from her real age of eight to 22 and told the girl to say she was 22 if anyone asked. A Probable Cause Affidavit outlined various congenital health problems Natalia suffers from that make it appear she is much younger than she is.

In 2013, the Barnett family moved to Canada and abandoned Natalia in a Lafayette apartment for the next three years, placing her "in a situation that endangered the dependent's life or health." Fending for herself, Natalia did not receive badly needed medical care.