LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WTHR) — The Indiana girl whose adoption story is making national headlines will have her side of the story heard for the first time on national TV.
The adoptive father of Natalia Barnett appeared on national television sharing details calling themselves victims of a Ukrainian adoption scam.
After the case got national attention from Dr. Oz, a judge issued a gag order. But Natalia had already recorded an exclusive with Dr. Phil.
During the interview, Dr. Phil McGraw asked Natalia, "Are you a 33-year-old scam artist?"
McGraw did a no-holds barred interview with Natalia and her new adoptive parents. Her previous parents, Michael Barnett and his now-ex-wife Kristine are out of jail facing felony neglect charges.
"They say that you scammed them, that you lied about your age and came over here and terrorized them," Dr. Phil said.
"That's not true at all," Natalia said.
Tippecanoe County prosecutors claim Michael and his wife moved to Canada and left Natalia to fend for herself in a Lafayette apartment. They reportedly intentionally found an apartment close to services like a hospital, police station and grocery store.
During the interview, Dr. Phil said he found the story about her living alone as a child alone in the apartment for about two years hard to believe.
The Barnetts said after Natalia threatened their lives, they uncovered she faked her age. Eventually, they won a court battle to have her age legally changed to that of an adult.
"They claim that they did bone scans and all that. I don't remember going through a bone scan. I remember going through a bone scan in Michigan," Natalia said.
"I guess it comes down to whether you are or not an evil psychopath demon child that has come over here to murder everybody," Dr. Phil said. Natalia was shocked at his comment.
Michael Barnett's attorney plans to watch Dr. Phil to hear what Natalia has to say about the case and the allegations. Michael hired Indianapolis attorney Terrence Kinnard, who is working with the attorney representing Michael's ex-wife. Kinnard told Eyewitness News he is looking forward to doing a deposition with Natalia. The exclusive interview with Dr. Phil may help shed some light on how she may respond during a deposition.
Michael and Kristine Barnett face two counts each related to felony child neglect. Kinnard has filed several pre-trial motions in the case ahead of their court trial scheduled for the beginning of 2020. The motions have included a motion to dismiss saying his clients did nothing wrong. The case is being pursued in part by the Tippecanoe County sheriff, who at the time of the case served as the lead detective on the case as an investigator.
The Dr. Phil interview will air on Channel 13 Thursday at 4 p.m.