Lawyer Says Couple Accused of Abandoning Adopted Child Were Victims of Fraud
LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The parents accused of leaving his adopted Ukrainian daughter alone in a Lafayette apartment and then leaving the country have turned themselves in.
Michael Barnett turned himself in to police yesterday, posted his $5,000 bond and then walked out of jail with his attorney, Terrence Kinnard. Barnett and his now ex-wife Christine, who turned herself in early this morning, are both charged with neglect.
In 2012, the two filed an emergency petition with a Marion County to change the 8-year-old girl's legal age to 22. The reason behind the move was that they believe they were victims of fraud because the girl has a form of dwarfism. They said she's actually an adult masquerading as a child.
"On the surface this is a bizarre case," Kinnard said to WISH-TV. "It reminds you of a Lifetime movie."
Kinnard said the Barnett's made enough of a case to change the girl's legal age that a Marion County judge signed off on the proposal. Soon after, the Barnett's dropped the girl off in Lafayette and then moved to Canada in order to further their son Jake's education.
Kinnard is confident other options were considered before the Barnetts left for Canada.
"Knowing the character and benevolence of this individual, that decision would have been made with lots of forethought and consideration," he said. "It was not a decision they would have come to lightly."
Kinnard is confident the Barnetts have a strong case that the adopted child is in fact an adult.