Before moving to Canada, Michael Barnett and now ex-wife, Kristine Barnett allegedly abandoned their adopted daughter in the US back in July of 2013.
Earlier this month, he returned to Lafayette, Indiana, to be booked on charges of neglect of a dependent stemming from the allegations.
Barnett decided to turn himself in at the Tippecanoe County Jail, posted a $5,000 surety bond and a $500 cash bond and was released shortly before 5 p.m.
Terrance Kinnard, Michael Barnett’s attorney, along with an unidentified woman accompanied him to the jail.
In June of 2012, the hospital conducted a skeletal survey and approximated her age as being 11 years old. The probable cause affidavit did not give an exact date for when the survey was conducted.
Legally, the Barnetts changed the girl’s age from 11 to 22, according to prosecutors. Michael Barnett informed authorities this month that his wife told their daughter to say that she was 22 and to explain that she looked young for her age.
According to the Indiana State Health Department’s website, to change a birth record, one has to petition a court, present evidence and persuade the judge to change the records. Those records are not open to public inspection.
It was not clear how the Barnetts changed the girl’s age.
Prosecutors say the Barnetts, who at the time lived an hour away in Hamilton County, rented the girl an apartment and moved her there.
The Barnetts along with their three biological sons then moved to Canada, according to the probable cause affidavit and records from the Barnett’s 2014 divorce.
They decided to move there so their eldest son, Jacob, could pursue his college education. He was 15 at the time and considered a physics prodigy.
Michael Barnett then moved back to Indiana in fall of 2013 “after an incident impacting the children,” Kristine Barnett stated in a court document, though the incident was unclear.
But according to the divorce records, Michael Barnett never returned to live with the family.
Then in February of 2014, Michael filed for a divorce from Kristine. And in that same year, their daughter was evicted from her Lafayette apartment four months later — telling authorities she had not seen her family since they left the country.
A former neighbor remembered the girl going to classes at Lafayette Adult Resource Academy.
“She quit coming to class, and we didn’t know what happened to her,” Margaret Axsom said.
The divorce records also indicate that back in 2014, Kristine Barnett was in discussions over movie rights to “The Spark,” which is Kristine Barnett’s book about Jacob’s autism diagnosis along with the discovery of his intellectual gifts.
On their divorce petition, the Barnett’s said they did not adopt any minor children during their marriage.
Prosecutors allege the Ukrainian girl was just 12 or 13 when the Barnett family moved to Canada.