LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — A divided Indiana Supreme Court on Monday announced it will not hear the state’s appeal on criminal charges against a former Tippecanoe County couple accused of abandoning their adopted daughter.
The vote was 3-2.
A judge dismissed neglect charges against Michael and Kristine Barnett in 2020, and a state appeals court upheld the decision.
The now-divorced couple adopted Natalia Barnett in 2010. A doctor estimated her age as 8, but in 2012, the couple legally changed her age to 22.
They were charged with neglect of a dependent for allegedly leaving Natalia in an apartment in July 2013.
Michael and Kristine Barnett claimed their adopted daughter caused a threat to their family and said she was an adult the entire time. Natalia denied being an adult in a 2019 interview on Dr. Phil.
During the interview, she described the moment she learned her adopted parents were leaving her behind.
“They just said, ‘We’re going to get you an apartment and we’re going to Canada,’” Natalia said. “I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t really know what was going on at first until it happened. I was confused.”