The Feral Child

LEBANON, Tenn. - The St. Petersburg Times originally shared Dani's story in August 2008, in an article called "The Girl in the Window."

Detectives had discovered her in a Plant City home in July 2005, when she was almost 7. She was curled in a tiny, roach-infested room, covered with her own feces, unable to speak or make eye contact, afraid to be held. A child protection officer had raced her to Tampa General Hospital. Dani weighed 46 pounds.

Investigators determined she had been left alone, in that dark, filthy space, for most of her life. They called Dani a "feral child," like Tarzan or the wolf boy.

Police charged Dani's mother with child neglect. A judge terminated her parental rights, sentenced her to community service and two years of house arrest.

In 2007, Bernie and Diane Lierow, then of Fort Myers, saw Dani's photo in a gallery of Tampa Bay area children available for adoption. The Times story told of how the couple were drawn to her dark, vacant eyes.

Three Years Later: The Girl in the Window

Photo Gallery: Then and Now

Photo Gallery: Dani

Original Story and Comments on ISYN
A very special thank you to MissDee for contributing this Article.


MissMannah said...

Wow, that was just an incredible read. Thank you so much for posting it. I didn't hear about Dani's story back in 2008 and I wasn't able to read the original story now because I knew the abuse would just sicken me too much. But I am so glad she was adopted by such wonderful people. The only thing that does bother me is that she isn't able to get as much medical care because Medicaid doesn't pay for much. That is very disappointing. But hopefully their home therapy programs continue to work for her and it sounds like she is in a really good special ed program as well.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I took the time to read the whole thing, part of me is glad I did and the other part of me is sickened by it :( For those who can't/didn't read the article in it's entirety, Dani's biological mother basically blamed Dani's neglect on Dani herself. When CPS confronted the mother about the issues, she said she tried to toilet train Dani but she refused and also had a whole bunch of other excuses as to the condition of the house which was beyond disgusting. The mother appears to have some issues herself and was not capable of taking care of Dani, clearly evident in the lack of nourishment, among other things.

I was so happy to read that Dani was placed with an adoptive family who is taking such good care of her. They accepted her with all her issues and she is making tremendous progress.

The thing that was troubling to me was that CPS visited the house a few years before Dani was ultimately taken from the house. At that time, nothing was done. This reminds me of the Jaycee Duggard story where she had been held captive for a very long time while probation officers visited the house and never questioned her being there. Very sad stuff but I'm glad both girls are in loving homes now!

Phoenix said...

what wonderful caring people. I am so impressed with the love those two have showed this girl. They are so patient and loving. It really is special. I am so happy that this girl has a second chance and her parents are angels, truly

ericsmom said...

Yes, thank god for wonderful people that are in this world. The patience they have is amazing. What a blessing this little girl received!!