Parents are accused of abandoning their adopted 9-year-old dwarf daughter because she was in fact “an adult sociopath” who threatened to kill them.
Kristine Barnett, 45, and Michael Barnett, 43, from Indiana, US, say three-ft tall Natalia from the Ukraine “pretended” to be a child when she was aged 22.
The pair appeared in court yesterday and are facing neglect charges which could land them in jail for five-and-a-half years if they are found guilty.
It is alleged the pair legally changed her age to 22, then left her her alone in a flat in Indiana for three years when they moved to Canada in 2013, MailOnline reported.
But Miss Barnett says Natalia is an adult who wanted to kill the family and had poisoned her, pushed her against an electric fence and threatened to murder her other children in their sleep.
Miss Barnett said she would ‘make statements and draw pictures saying she wanted to kill family members, roll them up in a blanket and put them in the backyard’.
She said: “Natalia was a woman. She had periods. She had adult teeth. She never grew a single inch, which would happen even with a child with dwarfism.”
‘The doctors all confirmed she was suffering a severe psychological illness only diagnosed in adults.”
She compared Natalia to the adopted 9-year-old girl in the 2009 film Orphan, who tried to kill her parents and those in the community and was actually aged 33.
She said: “The movie ‘Orphan’ is exactly what happened.
A doctor who examined Natalia in 2010 when the couple adopted her determined she was was about eight years old, court documents state.
But Barnett said she became suspicious about Natalia’s age over time
She said Natalia smeared blood on mirrors and tried to jump out of a moving car.
Court documents state, Natalia was a minor child and dependent of the pair when they abandoned her in Lafayette, Indiana.
The pair admit leaving Natalia behind when they moved but claim she was legally classed as an adult after they obtained an emergency court order in 2012, ruling she was not eight but 22 after advice from medical experts.
But prosecutors claim bone density tests carried out on Natalia in 2010 and 2012 estimate her age at eight and 11.
Michael Barnett’s lawyer Terrence Kinnard is expected to submit a motion asking prosecutors to specify whether they consider Natalia to be a child or a disabled adult.
He has also submitted an application last week to have her mental health records released so they can form part of his defence.
Mr Kinnard told reporters: “The courts have stated that she is in fact an adult based on the evidence that they heard at hearings back in 2012 and 2017, however we have no indication that this individual has ever been honest about what her true age is.
“We do have anecdotal reports that she has also indicated to other individuals that she was an adult.
“We are the position of filing a motion asking for a more definitive declaration of what the actual dependency of this person is and what they are alleging existed at the time my client allegedly neglected her.”
He added: “They [the estranged couple] still hold her dear in their hearts, they still believe she is a person that deserves love and support.
“They have never deprived her of that but nonetheless they find themselves in this position.”