Jury acquits Indiana man for abandoning adult daughter

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A jury on Thursday acquitted a man charged with negligence after he and his ex-wife were accused of giving up an adopted daughter.

The Tippecanoe Superior Court panel deliberated approximately two hours before finding Michael Barnett not guilty of three counts of negligence and conspiracy to commit negligence of a dependent.

The daughter, Ukrainian immigrant Natalia Barnett, said her adoptive parents, before moving to Canada, abandoned her in a second-floor Lafayette apartment in which…

READ MORE

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) – A jury has acquitted a man of negligence charges Thursday after he was accused along with his ex-wife of abandoning an adopted daughter.

The Tippecanoe Superior Court panel deliberated approximately two hours before finding Michael Barnett not guilty of three counts of negligence and conspiracy to commit negligence of a dependent.

The daughter, Ukrainian immigrant Natalia Barnett, said her adoptive parents, before moving to Canada, dumped her in a second-floor Lafayette apartment in which she was unable to navigate the stairs and was without a walker or wheelchair or any knowledge of the city.

Natalia Barnett testified Wednesday that she learned almost everything about life, including how to read, write and wash her hair, from a Lafayette family who took her in.

Prosecutors argued she was “entirely dependent” on Barnett and his ex-wife, Kristine, and there was “no one she could turn to for help.”

However, defense attorneys argued that she wanted nothing to do with the Barnetts. She had moved on.

The defense showed jurors videos of Natalia Barnett crossing a street, walking through a grocery store and clinging to the edge of a swimming pool. They argued that she was an able-bodied adult who was no longer interested in being part of the family.

Michael Barnett and his ex-wife said Natalia was an adult pretending to be a child.

Michael Barnett and his lawyers declined to comment after the verdict. A judge imposed a gag order in the case three years ago.

Natalia came to the United States from Ukraine in 2010. Two years later, the Marion County probate court established Natalia’s age as 22.

Negligence charges remain pending against Kristine Barnett.

Copyright © 2022 . All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located in the European Economic Area.

Comments are closed.