No one ever wants a horror movie to come to life, but one dysfunctional family has long believed that it may have happened to them. In the spring of 2010, Ukrainian-born Natalia Grace was adopted by Kristine and Michael Barnett. However, the family would soon attempt to dispute Natalia's status as a minor at the time after they came to believe that Natalia was able to fake her age due to her rare form of dwarfism.
Pulled straight from the 2009 film Orphan, the Barnetts argued that Natalia falsified her age at the time of her adoption and would subsequently display sociopathic tendencies. Legal charges flew between both parties before their trials in court led to some shocking rulings. But did Natalia Grace go to jail at any point throughout her years-long ongoing conflict with the Barnetts? Let's break it down.
Did Natalia Grace ever go to jail?
When the Barnetts adopted Natalia in April of 2010, she was reportedly six years old. However, she began to display certain behavioral issues that led them to believe otherwise.
In fact, they even went so far as to claim that she was a legal adult with a form of dwarfism known as spondyltoepiphyseal dysplasia congenita that caused her to look more like a child.
The family then successfully petitioned the Marion County court in Indiana in 2012 and changed Natalia's birth records to state that she was born in 1989 rather than 2003, making Natalia 22 years old at the time. They then abandoned Natalia in Indiana while they moved with their biological children up to Canada.
In 2019, a social services investigation was launched on Natalia's behalf which saw the Barnetts charged with neglect. But due to conflicting reports of Natalia's biological age and dwarfism diagnosis, different charges were applied between her alleged status as a minor and her status as an adult dependent with a disability.
Between 2022 and 2023, several charges made against the Barnetts were dropped and the Barnetts were found not guilty. But what does this mean for Natalia?
Well, despite the accusations made against her, Natalia was never formally charged with any crimes or misdemeanors. As such, she has never gone to jail for anything as of this writing. However, her life has been made the subject of two different docuseries that try to investigate both sides of the issue. The first, The Curious Case of Natalia Grace, debuted on the Investigation Discover channel in 2023. A follow-up, Natalia Speaks, is set to premiere on Jan. 1, 2024.
The second series is called Untitled Orphan Project and is slated to stream on Hulu at an undisclosed date.
As of now, Natalia has not served any jail time and even still stands by her accusations against the Barnett family.