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“Do I Look Like a Monster?”: Ukrainian Orphan Accused of Conspiring to Kill Adoptive Parents Speaks Out
“In every lie is a hidden truth, but you’ve gotta dig enough to be able to see it,” Natalia Grace says in an upcoming docuseries.
Natalia Grace, the Ukrainian-born orphan accused by her American adoptive parents of hiding her age and trying to kill them, is speaking out in an upcoming docuseries.
Natalia’s version of events in the bizarre saga involving her 2010 adoption by Indiana couple Kristine and Michael Barnett will be explored in the Investigation Discovery six-part docuseries, The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks.
A cold open for the program's’ first episode, which will air next month and feature interviews with Natalia, was released on Monday.
What does Natalia Grace now say about her adoptive parents, Kristine and Michael Barnett?
“In every lie is a hidden truth, but you’ve gotta dig enough to be able to see it,” Natalia says in the newly-released docuseries trailer. “They’re not going to get away with this. This is my side of the story.” Grace adds, “Do I look like a monster to you?”
The upcoming series is a sequel to The Curious Case of Natalia Grace, which aired earlier this year, and thrust Natalia’s stranger-than-fiction case into the national spotlight again. The upcoming Natalia Speaks installment, slated to premiere on January 1 over three consecutive nights, has been billed as “a new chapter” in Natalia’s “twisted family saga.”
“Natalia Speaks retraces her adoption saga and the Barnetts' allegations from Natalia’s perspective, offering insight into what really went on behind closed doors in the Barnetts' home and how much truth there actually is to their claim Natalia was not a 6-year-old Ukrainian orphan with a rare genetic disorder, but rather a homicidal adult intent on harming them and their children,” an ID press release stated.
For years, court decisions notwithstanding, the debate has raged over whether Natalia is a con artist and a full-blown homicidal sociopath capable of violence or simply an orphan in search of a new life. While the case’s gray area is complex, The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks aims to set the record straight from Natalia’s perspective.
Believed to be a young child, Natalia was adopted in 2010 by Michael and Kristine. The couple later claimed Natalia was actually an adult posing as a child. Two years after she was initially adopted, the Indiana couple petitioned the Marion County Probate Court to legally alter her age to 22, switching her birthdate from 2003 to 1989, according to People.
The Barnetts, who were later arrested on child abandonment charges after relocating to Canada without Grace, were eventually cleared of charges. They’ve maintained for years they were duped by Natalia. They further claim the Ukrainian-born orphan was bent on harming them and their biological children.
What did the Barnetts claim Natalie Grace did to them?
In The Curious Case of Natalie Grace, Michael Barnett claimed he awoke one night to find Natalia standing at the edge of his and his wife’s bed holding a knife. The couple also stated Natalia had tried to poison Kristine’s coffee with Pine-Sol cleaner and also would place thumbtacks face-up on the stairs at the family’s home.
The Barnetts are no longer married, according to Indianapolis television station WXIN.
Natalia Grace was never criminally charged in connection with the case. She lives with a rare form of dwarfism known as spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita. The genetic disorder can hinder mobility as well as growth and bone development, and can cause premature arthritis in the hips, as well as eye, neck, lower back, and respiratory issues.
During an appearance on Good Morning America, Michael said that doctors treating Natalia told him that Natalia is “a sociopath.”
“‘This person is a con artist,'” he recalled being told. “‘You are all in danger.’"
Natalia Speaks will feature a sit-down exchange between Natalia and Michael.
In 2014, Grace was informally taken in by another Indiana couple, Antwon Mans and Cynthia Mans. The Mans family subsequently failed to successfully petition the courts to legally adopt her, however, as of 2023, Grace was still living with the family. They described her as an “amazing daughter” and a “loving sister” in a GoFundMe campaign last year for a wheelchair-accessible van for Natalia.
Over the years, Natalia has publicly disputed her former adoptive parents accounts, including during a 2019 appearance on the Dr. Phil show.
"It's not true at all," Natalia said on Dr. Phil. "I don't want people to be scared of me because of what they read. I want them to see the genuine me."