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Couple Charged With Changing Daughter's Age, Abandoning Her

Odd case 'is going to end up on a TV show,' law enforcement official predicts
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2019 7:47 PM CDT
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Stock photo.   (Getty Images / hanohiki)

(Newser) – Michael and Kristine Barnett of Indiana have been charged with felony neglect after allegedly abandoning their daughter in an apartment and moving to Canada. But the "bizarre" case involving the girl adopted from the Ukraine goes back years, the Washington Post reports. The timeline:

  • The girl, who has a rare bone growth disorder (spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita) that results in dwarfism, was initially brought to the US by a different family in 2008. It's not clear what transpired, but the Barnetts ended up adopting her in 2010, and she went to live with them and their three sons in an Indianapolis suburb.
  • When the Barnetts adopted the girl, a doctor estimated she was 8; in 2012, however, another doctor estimated her to be 11, a year older than the previous estimate would have put her by that time. But that year, the Barnetts went to a probate court and were somehow able to get the girl's age legally changed to 22—more on that to come.
  • Sometime around 2013, police say the Barnetts rented the girl—now legally a woman—an apartment in Lafayette, where she says she knew no one, and then moved the rest of the family to Canada; they made the move in the summer of 2013 so 15-year-old son Jake, who had become semi-famous as a prodigy after his autism diagnosis, could study at a prestigious institute.

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