A COUPLE who adopted a girl with dwarfism have been charged with abandoning the girl in a flat after legally changing her age from 11 to 22.
Kristine Elizabeth Barnett, 45, and Michael Barnett, 43, are accused of moving to Canada in 2013 leaving behind an 11-year-old disabled girl in the US with no financial support.
Kristine Elizabeth Barnett and her husband have been charged with abandoning their disabled adopted daughter[/caption]
Mrs Barnett and her husband Michael Barnett appeared on 60 Minutes for a different story about their son[/caption]
They adopted the girl in 2010 and a doctor who examined her that year determined she was about eight years old, court documents state.
Mr Barnett told cops he and his wife had the girl’s age legally changed to 22 in June of 2012, when she would have actually been 11, according to reports.
They reportedly told her to tell anyone who asked that she “looks young but was actually 22”.
The couple rented an apartment in Lafayette, Indiana, US in July 2013 and, despite knowing that the child knew no one in that city, they left her there alone.
The adoptive parents then moved to Canada, investigators wrote in the affidavit.
Mr Barnett said that other than paying the apartment’s rent, they provided the girl with no financial support.
The 60 Minutes clip appeared to show the then-couple’s adopted daughter sitting at the dinner table with them[/caption]
The girl told a detective in September 2014 that she had come to the US “through an adoption” in 2008 from her native Ukraine and that the Barnetts adopted her two years later.
She said she lived with the Barnetts in Hamilton County, just north of Indianapolis, for about two years, after which they rented the apartment for her in Lafayette.
“She was left alone in the apartment in Lafayette while the rest of the Barnett family moved to Canada,” investigators wrote in the affidavit, adding that the girl hasn’t seen the Barnetts since.
The affidavit leaves a lot unclear, including how long the girl lived alone in the apartment before her plight was discovered.
Ms Barnett has denied the accusations and claims the adoption was a scam.
“I am sick and devastated from the idea of any of these charges and maintain that they are false charges,” she wrote on Facebook.
She also alleges the girl they adopted is actually an adult.
In 2012, the Barnetts appeared on 60 Minutes for a story about their then 13-year-old son Jake who has Asperger’s syndrome.
The segment looked at how Jake, with the help of his parents, was studying physics at Purdue University Indianapolis despite once being told he may never be able to read.
It appeared to show the then-couple’s adopted daughter sitting at the dinner table with them.
Ms Barnett also published a book around the same time the segment aired titled: “The Spark: A mother’s story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism”.
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Her book looks at how Jake developed physics theories before he was 10 and how his parents raised him.
Tippecanoe County prosecutors filed neglect charges last week against the Barnetts.
They had not been booked or arraigned as of Friday and online court records don’t list an attorney for them.
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