What Happened With Natalia Grace and the Mans Family?


  • “The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks” ends with new allegations.
  • Natalie Grace’s new adoptive parents suggest to producers that their relationship has soured.
  • Recent social-media posts from Natalia and the Mans family don’t paint the same picture.

“The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks” explores the story of Natalia Grace, whose adoptive parents, Michael and Kristine Barnett, said she was actually an adult posing as a Ukrainian orphan.

The first season of the Investigation Discovery documentary series, which aired in May 2023, gave an overview of Natalia Grace’s story. The Barnetts, who said they believed Natalia to be a 6-year-old Ukrainian orphan when they first adopted her in 2010, came to believe that Natalia was an adult con artist. In the series, as Business Insider previously reported, Michael alleged that Natalia had attempted to harm members of the family and said that a therapist had diagnosed her as a “sociopath.”

Natalia has a rare form of dwarfism known as spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia. Though her Ukrainian birth certificate said she was born in 2003, in 2012, Michael and Kristine Barnett succeeded in legally changing Natalia’s birth year to 1989.

While Natalia was an adult on paper, she was still classified as a dependent due to her disability status. After leaving Natalia alone in an Indiana apartment and moving to Canada in 2013, the since-divorced couple faced charges of neglect in 2019. Michael was acquitted in October 2022, and the charges against Kristine were dismissed in March 2023.

“Natalia Speaks,” the second season of the series, aired this week and features extensive interviews with Natalia in which she denies the Barnetts’ allegations of violent behavior and faking her age. She also accuses Kristine Barnett, who did not participate in the docuseries, of abusing her as a child. The docuseries also features Natalia’s conversations with Michael Barnett, who apologizes to Natalia and alleges that Kristine manipulated him.

natalia grace and michael barnett sit in armchairs side by side, looking at each other

Natalia Grace and Michael Barnett reunited for a conversation.

Investigation Discovery

In the years since her time with the Barnetts and amid her legal saga, Natalia found a new family in Cynthia and Antwon Mans. But a revelation in the last two minutes of the docuseries throws her relationship with the Mans family into question.

How did Natalia Grace meet her new adoptive parents, Cynthia and Antwon Mans?

Both Antwon and Cynthia Mans feature heavily in the docuseries, with Antwon accompanying Natalia to receive DNA test results that appear to determine that her true age is around 22 years old. He also sat in on her confrontation with her former adoptive father, Michael Barnett. Natalia praises the Mans family throughout the series and refers to them as her parents even before they legally adopted her.

Natalia previously testified in Michael Barnett’s neglect trial that she came to live with the Mans family after meeting Cynthia Mans through a neighbor while she was living alone in Lafayette, Indiana, where the Barnetts had moved her in July 2013. At that time, Natalia says, she was 9 years old, though she was legally 23 years old due to the Barnetts changing her age.

Antwon and Cynthia, who had multiple other children living in their home when Natalia came to live with them, speak highly of Natalia in the series. They say she didn’t behave in their home in a way uncharacteristic of other children and certainly not the way the Barnetts said she acted with them. But the show does raise one specific incident: Genesis Mans, a child also living with the Mans family, says in an episode-five interview that Natalia bit her when Genesis was a baby. Genesis says Natalia told her the incident occurred when Natalia was 10. That approximate age would mean that Natalia would have legally been 24 years old at the time.

“I would say she has been violent in a typical way like most kids do. You know, most kids fight, most kids argue, but nothing unusual to where there was just crazy unrest in that sort of way. There’s nothing dangerous about Natalia at all, absolutely not,” Bishop Antwon Mans says in an interview in episode five.

In episode six, Natalia says she remembers “having some behavior issues” when she first met the Mans, and she apologizes for her early behavior.

“When Natalia first got with us, there would be moments that she would just be so broken, and just feel like, ‘How do I deal with this?'” Cynthia Mans recounts in an interview in episode six.

“Natalia been with us all these years, and let me tell you, we have corrected Natalia, and she’s never came at us with the knife or put thumbtacks up on our stairs, or tried to hurt our children,” Cynthia continues, referencing some of the Barnetts’ allegations.

Episode six depicts Antwon and Cynthia Mans formally adopting Natalia, with both parents wearing t-shirts celebrating their status as adoptive parents.

natalia grace barnett stands with antwon mans and cynthia mans, who are both smiling and wearing t-shirts that read "out of my way it's adoption day" and "adoptive mom"

Cynthia and Antwon Mans with Natalia Grace on the day of her adoption in “The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks.”

Investigation Discovery

“It has been a really long journey. I have always wondered if I would be able to find someone that would actually love me. But then I met my parents, and it’s been different ever since. It’s been a good different,” Natalia says in an interview in episode six.

Documents shown in the episode indicate the adoption paperwork was filed in June 2023.

What happened between Natalia Grace and the Mans family?

In the last two minutes of episode six of the docuseries, a black screen appears with text that reads, “Two weeks ago, and six months after Natalia’s adoption, the producers got a shocking phone call.”

Then Antwon and Cynthia’s voices are heard, over a shot zooming in on Natalia sitting on a porch.

“Something ain’t right with Natalia,” Antwon says. “This girl is tweakin’. I feel like she’s the enemy in the house. And she said to us, we have held her hostage. Made us look like we’re the enemy.”

“Natalia is stabbing her family in the back over a complete lie,” Cynthia says.

“She’s done other things, too,” Antwon continues. “But this was a new low. Natalia does not have emotions for nothing but herself. We’re done. We’re done with her.”

Then, the screen cuts to black, with the text, “Natalia’s story will continue.”

You can watch the full conversation here, uploaded to Investigation Discovery’s YouTube channel.

Does Natalia Grace still live with the Mans family?

Based on the paperwork suggesting Natalia’s adoption by the Mans family took place in June 2023, the call from Cynthia and Antwon Mans in the final moments of episode six appears to have happened sometime in mid to late December. (Representatives at ID declined to confirm the timing of the call.)

But Natalia has appeared in recent social-media posts from the Mans family’s social-media accounts, including a Thanksgiving post on Instagram.

The family’s TikTok account, which the Instagram page references, posted most recently on December 26 that Natalia had launched her own TikTok account under the handle @natgrace20. The post bears several hashtags, including #MamaBabyIsGrowingUp, #MamasForEverBFF, #FamilyIsForever, and #GoFollowBabysPage. According to the timeline presented in the documentary series, the post was probably made after or around the same time as the phone call between the Mans family and the docuseries’ producers.

The most recent post on the @natgrace20 account, viewed by BI, is a video of a woman who appears to be Natalia wishing her followers a happy 2024. A December 29 post on the account features photos of Natalia and the Mans family.

“2023 was amazing but 2024 is gonna be awesome,” the December 29 post’s caption reads, accompanied by the hashtags #newbeginnings, #fyp, and #family4ever. It also tags the Mans family account.

“i love you so much my forever baby,” the Mans family account replied to the post.

“I love you mama,” the Natalia account replied.

Requests for comment from BI, sent to the Mans family’s Instagram account and an Instagram account that the @natgrace20 TikTok account identified as Natalia’s, were not immediately responded to.

All six episodes of “The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks” are now available to stream on Max.

First appeared on www.businessinsider.com

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