Crime Watch 8

Couple accused of abandoning adopted child faces added charges

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — In the cases against Michael and Kristine Barnett, the Tippecanoe County prosecutor filed a motion Thursday to add additional felony charges and change the level of the case.

According to court documents, prosecutors filed an amended probable cause affidavit based on new medical information obtained since the Barnetts were first charged.

Prosecutors requested to add four more counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury.

  • Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Bodily Injury (C Felony).
  • Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Bodily Injury (Level 5 Felony).
  • Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury (B Felony).
  • Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury (Level 3 Felony).

The court documents also requested the motion to change the level of the case from a Level 6 Felony to a Level 3 Felony.

The Barnetts are accused of having the age of their adopted daughter Natalia changed before abandoning her in an apartment in Lafayette. They then moved to Canada.

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In September and October, prosecutors interviewed a number of doctors who have treated Natalia for dwarfism and developmental problems. The doctors maintain her biological age is in the low teens.

To support the new “neglect causing bodily injury” charges, prosecutors cite doctors who said Natalia required surgery she has not yet gotten. One doctor told them the conflict between Natalia’s “legal” age and her physical age meant treatment was denied until the conflict was resolved.

Another said that because of delays in medical care and surgeries, future surgeries will be more involved and the treatment will take a longer period of time.

One also said her medical problems could have been lessened if they had been taken care of at an appropriate age, and Natalia appeared to be “medically neglected.”

The Tippecanoe County prosecutor originally filed two neglect charges on Sept. 11. Michael and Kristine Barnett pleaded not guilty to two counts of child neglect.

(Photos Provided/WLFI)