• Watch: The Watcher Cast was instantly hooked by True Story
• Investigation Discovery’s six-episode series The Curious Case of Natalia Grace detailed Michael’s story of a well-intended adoption gone wrong
• Michael and Kristine Barnett fell prey to a nightmare scenario similar to the plot of a previously implausible movie
Here is what happened:
Critics were astonished when the movie “Orphan” was released in 2009. The film was a Bad Seed-style story about a family that adopts a 9-year-old Russian girl whom they quickly learn has murderous tendencies. However, the big twist was that the girl turned out to be a 33-year-old Estonian woman with a rare hormonal disorder who was very dangerous. The AV Club noted that the movie seemed somewhat implausible, but for Michael Barnett and his now-ex-wife Kristine, the story apparently hit too close to home.
The Curious Case of Natalia Grace is a six-part series that explores Michael’s story of what was supposed to be a well-intended adoption that went terribly wrong. The series premiered in May, detailing Michael’s version of events and including additional input from other observers who doubted the Barnetts’ side of the story. The series also noted that Kristine’s only response when asked for comment was that she thought the network was ‘whack’.
The show also includes information from before the Barnetts adopted Natalia, as well as input from other families who explored adopting her before the Barnetts. The information suggests that things might not have been as they seemed with Natalia from the start and that the Barnetts may have had reason to be wary.
Why did the Barnetts suspect that Natalia wasn’t really a 6-year-old child, as they had been told? When Michael’s wife Kristine discovered that Natalia had pubic hair and when Natalia began to confess certain behaviors that led them to believe she was actually much older, the family started to doubt the story they had been told. Natalia started behaving erratically, and despite seeking therapy and help, she allegedly continued to act out, putting the family’s safety at risk.
But were the Barnetts deceived, or did they misunderstand Natalia’s true needs? The twisted tale of Natalia Grace will continue to unravel as the Jan. 1 premier of the upcoming special will allow for viewers to hear Natalia’s side of the story and experience the chilling look into the story of this seemingly “orphaned” girl.