LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Michael Barnett is trying to get the two charges of neglect against him dismissed, according to a motion filed in Tippecanoe County.
Barnett and his ex-wife face two counts of neglect of a dependant. They’re accused of leaving their adopted daughter alone in Lafayette, while the rest of the family moved to Canada.
Michael Barnett’s lawyer, Terrance Kinnard, argues the charges are too vague because the state never specifically claims the daughter was under 18.
He said a contradiction in the dates of one charge means the five-year statute of limitations may have expired. Kinnard also criticizes claims that the Barnetts hid evidence by changing the girl’s age. Kinnard said that’s not possible since the state was there for the age change and made the decision itself.
There’s no timeline for a decision on the filing.
The case has gained worldwide attention. Prosecutors said the parents adopted the Ukranian girl, who has a form of dwarfism, in 2010. A friend of Kristine Barnett said they believed they were “scammed,” and the girl caused a “traumatic adoption experience.”
Prosecutors said the Barnetts had the girl’s age legally changed from 8 to 22-years-old. That process remains unclear. The family then left the girl in an apartment on North 11th Street in Lafayette before moving to Canada, according to court documents.
Michael and Kristine Barnett both appeared in Tippecanoe County Friday for an initial hearing and pleaded not guilty. A jury trial date for the parents was set for Jan. 28.