Arrest warrants filed for parents accused of abandoning girl in Lafayette

Courtesy CBS/60 Minutes

Arrest warrants were issued Tuesday morning in Tippecanoe Superior Court II for two parents accused of abandoning their adopted daughter in a Lafayette apartment.

Posted: Sep 17, 2019 11:26 AM
Updated: Sep 18, 2019 4:26 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Arrest warrants were issued Tuesday morning in Tippecanoe Superior Court II for two parents accused of abandoning their adopted daughter in a Lafayette apartment. 

Michael and Kristine Barnett are both facing a $5,000 bond, according to court documents. They are each charged with two counts of neglect of a dependent. 

As of 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, the Tippecanoe County Jail did not have record of either Michael or Kristine Barnett.

As we previously reported, Michael Barnett, now separated from Kristine Barnett according to WISH-TV, admitted to legally changing the Ukranian girl's presumed age from 8-years-old to 22-years-old prior. The girl has a form of dwarfism, according to documents.

The girl told police she was adopted by the Barnetts in 2010. Court documents said the family lived in Hamilton County for two years. Then, the girl told police the Barnetts rented an apartment on North 11th Street in Lafayette, left her alone and then moved with the rest of the family to Canada.

Before they left, prosecutors say the Barnetts had the girl's age legally changed to 22. The process by which her age was changed remains unclear. According to court documents, Kristine Barnett, also known as Kristine Pearson, told the girl to tell others she just "looks young." 

Prosecutors say the couple admitted when interviewed Thursday Sept. 5, 2019 that they did not financially support the girl, other than paying rent, after leaving her in the apartment.

WISH-TV reports the Barnetts sat down with the national news program “60 Minutes” for a piece about their son Jake, a child prodigy. It was two years after the girl was adopted by the family and 18 months before she was left in Lafayette all alone.

The video airing on Jan. 17, 2012, told the story of 13-year-old Jake, a star student at IUPUI, the youngest to ever be published in a prestigious physics journal, according to WISH-TV. 

The “60 Minutes” story appears to show the couple’s adopted daughter making an appearance at the dinner table sitting next to Kristine.

Kristine Barnett told WISH-TV she didn’t know about the charges. She calls the girl a diagnosed psychopath and sociopath.

WISH-TV reporter Dan Klein went to the listed Indianapolis-area addresses for Kristine and Michael Barnett. No one appeared home at Kristine's listed address. At Michael’s home, the people inside refused to answer the door.

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