Natalia Grace’s former adoptive mother, Kristine Barnett, denied the abuse allegations leveled against her by her ex-daughter in the new ID docuseries, The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks.
“She was not abused by anyone in my family,” Barnett wrote in a lengthy Facebook post yesterday, Jan. 4. “Let’s get straight to these allegations. Nobody ever took a belt to Natalia and the allegations that she was ‘beaten’ are just plain false.”
Grace’s surreal, unnerving story garnered national attention last year thanks to the first part of the ID docuseries. The condensed version is this: Barnett and her now ex-husband, Michael, adopted the Ukrainian-born Grace in 2010. The Barnetts soon came to believe that Grace — who has a rare form of dwarfism — was not a six-year-old orphan but an adult sociopath trying to destroy their family.
In 2012, the Barnetts successfully had Grace’s age legally changed, and the following year moved her into her own apartment. This led to the Barnetts being charged with neglect, though Michael was acquitted during his trial, and the charges against Kristine were later dismissed.
In the new Natalia Speaks docuseries, Grace accused Kristine of abuse, including claims that she pepper-sprayed her and hit her with a belt. In the series, Michael also alleged that his ex-wife manipulated and abused him. (The new series also offers an answer to the question of Natalia’s age, with a DNA test suggesting she was likely around nine years old when the Barnetts adopted her in 2010.)
In her Facebook post, Barnett tried to cast doubt on Grace and her claims. She said her “entire demeanor” was different and suggested, “It was eerie watching her as if she was very well coached in how she was dressed and behaved and presented herself.”
Barnett claimed Grace was “very much loved and cared for,” and any discipline was “minimal” and “not out of the bounds of normal parenting.” She also claimed Grace’s abuse allegations had been previously “investigated as unfounded” and suggested Grace aired out the accusations “to lead people away from investigating her personal behaviors which were extreme and usually of some sort of sexual or hurtful to towards others nature.”
She added later: “I believe Natalia takes advantage of that sympathy to manipulate people. I believe this because I sat through numerous hospital visits and therapy visits trying to understand and help Natalia and thinking we might be able to find the root of the issue. In the end I learned she is a sociopath.”