Adopted daughter’s mental health records ordered released in neglect case

Crime Watch 8

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — Prosecutors say the Barnetts neglected their adopted, Ukrainian-born daughter when they abandoned her in a Lafayette apartment. The parents say she was an adult the whole time she lived with them. Here’s the latest in the bizarre case.

The neglect charges center on parents from Indianapolis who left their adopted daughter alone in an apartment in Lafayette before moving to Canada several years ago.

The attorneys for Michael and Kristine Barnett went before their trial judge for the first time.

The attorneys maintain the Barnetts are actually the victims in this case. They said the daughter they adopted several years ago, a person with dwarfism whose birth certificate said she was a girl, was actually an adult with mental health issues.

Because of the nature of this case, including the uncertainty of the daughter’s age, News 8 is choosing not to use her name.

Mental health records of the daughter were the key part of the hearing Tuesday afternoon in Tippecanoe County.

The courtroom was closed to the public for that discussion.

Judge Steve Meyer granted the order Tuesday afternoon, giving prosecutors the right to access the daughter’s mental health records, then share them with both defense attorneys.

The court did not provide information about which facilities will be contacted.

While Michael was not required to be in court Tuesday, News 8 asked his attorney, Terrance Kinnard, about the records after the hearing. Kinnard said he is confident the evidence will help his client.

“Absolutely,” Kinnard said. “Anything we can use to show our position is the correct position we’re certainly welcoming of. We have an idea of what’s in those records, so we definitely believe it will be beneficial to us.”

Kristine’s attorney, Philip Hayes, refused to make a comment after the Tuesday hearing.

Hayes was successful with a motion to change Kristine’s address of record to her current home in Florida, although she’s always been free to leave the state. She did have to give up her passport and sign a waiver of extradition.

Several other motions have been filed in the case, but because they weren’t set for a formal hearing, they were moved to next week.

One motion would remove Michael’s address in Indianapolis from public record, Kinnard said, as a matter of safety. He said two weeks ago, someone calling themselves a journalist from Spain trespassed at his home and even used a cover story of a dead cellphone to get inside even though Michael wasn’t home. The police were called, Kinnard said.

Meyer said Indiana law requires proper notice for a hearing, so he could not rule immediately and indicated Kinnard should bring witnesses and evidence for that hearing.

Kinnard tells News 8 it’s a safe bet the witnesses will show up to the hearing.

At that hearing, Meyer would also consider a motion to dismiss completely the charges against Michael.

“I am very confident in our motions,” Kinnard said. “I’m even more confident about Michael’s innocence. I truly believe he’s innocent of all these charges.”

The hearing to consider all the motions filed by Kinnard is set for Oct. 23 at 10:30 a.m. The court has allotted 90 minutes for the various motions.

Everything you need to know about the Barnetts’ case

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