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Where Is Natalia Grace Now? A Blood Test Revealed the Adoptee's Real Age

The Curious Case of Natalia Grace documented her adoptive parents' outrageous claims.

In May 2023, Investigation Discovery viewers were introduced to the true story of a failed adoption, an all-around unpleasant and disturbing tale, no matter which side of it you believe. The docuseries The Curious Case of Natalia Grace centers Michael Barnett, one half of a couple who adopted a young girl with dwarfism from the Ukraine in 2010. Michael and his wife, Kristine Barnett, who did not participate in the series, claimed that their new daughter, Natalia Grace Barnett, was actually an adult posing as a child—and that she was "evil" and had tried to physically harm them.

In the second season of the series, The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks, Natalia herself takes center stage, countering the Barnett's allegations about her age and making her own claims that they abused and neglected her. While the docuseries shows that she moved on and had been adopted by a new family who accepted her, it also ends on a cliffhanger about where their relationship stands now. Read on to learn more about Natalia's history, how the Barnetts were able to have her legally declared an adult, and where she is today.

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What happened to Natalia Grace?

Natalia Grace as a child
Investigation Discovery

Natalia was born with a rare genetic disorder called spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, which the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia says "results in short stature and skeletal anomalies that primarily affect the spine and long bones of the arms and legs." After spending some time in an orphanage in Ukraine, she was brought to the U.S. by an adoption agency. The Barnetts traveled to Florida to adopt her in 2010, when Natalia was purportedly six years old.

Michael makes several shocking claims in the documentary that he says led him and the rest of his family (the Barnetts have three biological sons) to believe that Natalia was actually an adult. Among them were that she was already menstruating, had pubic hair, and displayed certain mature behaviors. They petitioned an Indiana county court in 2012 to have Natalia's birth year and thus her age officially changed, making her legally 22 instead of 8.

Additionally, Natalia's adoptive parents claimed that she attempted to hurt them, including trying to poison Kristine with cleaning fluid and putting tacks on their stairs, and had threatened to stab their sons. Because of these allegations, as well as claims that Natalia acted out sexually, many have pointed out similarities between the Barnetts' story and the fictional plot of the 2009 horror movie Orphan, about a 33-year-old serial killer who poses as a nine-year-old adoptee.

After having her age changed, the Barnetts installed Natalia, alone, in an apartment they had rented in Indiana, and subsequently moved to Canada. Some time later, Natalia met Antwon and Cynthia Mans, a couple who invited her to move in with them and eventually adopted her.

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What happened to Michael and Kristine Barnett?

Michael Barnett on The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks
Investigation Discovery

Michael filed for divorce from Kristine in 2014. In 2019, both Michael and Kristine were arrested and charged with neglect of a dependent for leaving Natalia to live independently. Michael's case went to trial, and in 2020 a jury found him not guilty of "neglect causing bodily injury … neglect causing serious bodily injury … [and] conspiring with [Kristine]," per the Journal & Courier. In early 2023, the charges against Kristine were dismissed for lack of evidence.

Five years before the former couple's arrest, Kristine penned a book about parenting a "genius"—their son, Jacob Barnett. Per Yahoo! Entertainment, Jacob has an IQ of 170 and is autistic. (He is now 25 and works as a theoretical physicist.) Her book is titled The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism.

Kristine did not participate in the Investigation Discovery docuseries, but Michael was interviewed at length for both seasons. In the second season, he claimed that Kristine masterminded and carried out any abuse or abandonment of Natalia. (Natalia alleged in her interview that Kristine would pepper-spray her, among other forms of control.) He also claimed that he was a victim of Kristine's abuse and manipulation as much as his adopted daughter was.

Kristine issued a response to the documentary after the second season aired.

"Natalia was a very much loved and cared for member of my family. She was not abused by anyone in my family," the now-deleted Jan. 2024 Facebook post said, in part, as reported by People. "If there had been any abuse of Natalia or evidence of it, I would have been found guilty of it and I would be in jail."

Michael sat down with Natalia for a tense conversation in Season 2. While he walked off at one point, the two eventually seemed to come to an understanding: Natalia even told Michael that she forgives him. Since splitting from Kristine, he has remarried and reportedly still lives in Indiana, while Kristine resides in Florida.

What age is Natalia Grace?

The Mans family attempted to become legal guardians of Natalia in 2016 but were unsuccessful, because she was not a minor in the eyes of the law. A hearing took place about Natalia's age at that time, but a judge declined to change the birthdate that was on the books after the Barnetts' 2012 petition.

As part of The Curious Case of Natalia Grace, a DNA test was done on Natalia by a company called TruDiagnostics. As reported by People, the Aug. 2023 blood test put her age at 22, which would mean that she was nine years old when the Barnetts adopted her, and 12 or 13 when they left her to live independently in an apartment complex.

"It just proves that I was not lying about my age," Natalia said on the series when the results were revealed. "[The Barnetts] 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."

Where is Natalia Grace today?

Natalia Grace in The Curious Case of Natalia Grace
Investigation Discovery

Natalia was legally adopted by the Mans in June 2023, as shown in documentary. While the couple and Natalia admit that she battled some behavioral issues when she first came to live with Antwon, Cynthia, and their children, the adoption hearing is shown to be a joyous occasion, with all three participants wearing shirts celebrating the day.

However, Season 2 of The Curious Case of Natalia Grace leaves off on a less positive note. Producers share a phone call they receive from the Mans, in which Antwon says, "Something ain't right with Natalia. This girl is tweaking. I feel like she's the enemy in the house. And she said to us, we have held her hostage. Made us look like we're the enemy."

"Natalia is stabbing her family in the back, over a complete lie," Cynthia adds.

Antwon continues, "She's done other things, too, but this was a new low. Natalia does not have emotions for nothing but herself. We're done. We're done with her."

Natalia created a GoFundMe page for herself on Jan. 7, 2024, telling potential donors that she was raising funds to move out on her own and to launch a photography business.

In a subsequent interview with The Sun, Cynthia addressed the phone call but declined to explain the circumstances that led to it, citing continued filming of the docuseries as the reason.

"We are absolutely perfect," she said of her family's status with Natalia. "No, she doesn't live with us but we are fine." She told the outlet that Natalia was "living with friends," but that they were still in regular communication with her.

The Mans often feature shots of Natalia on their Instagram account, and she has shared glimpses of her life on her personal account. After the season finale aired, she posted a selfie along with the caption, "I am okay and doing well and thank you all for your support and prayers. I wish I could tell you more Abt the show but I signed an agreement with the show to keep things confidential for now. I will let you guys know when I can for sure, but just know I am okay. Love y'all."

Investigation Discovery has yet to announce another season of The Curious Case of Natalia Grace, but executive producer Shannon Evangelista seemed to hint to Variety that more of this story may be on the way.

Sage Young
Sage Young is the Deputy Entertainment Editor at Best Life, expanding and honing our coverage in this vertical by managing a team of industry-obsessed writers. Read more
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