When police officer Mark Holste from Florida received a call on July 13th or 2005, he didn’t realize this would be a call that would change his life forever. A report was put out stating a man had seen a strange, mysterious looking girl in the window of his neighbor’s home. The girl was described as very pale looking.
The house was run down but had been lived in for the past three years, but there were never any signs of any kids having lived there.
The neighbor made the call to police, fearing that it could be a case of child abuse. Officer Holste went to check things out.
The officer knocked on the door. Little did he know what lay waiting inside for him to see. Cockroaches everywhere and animal waste throughout, as well as chewed food, spiderwebs and trash all over the place.
Sitting in the middle of trash, was the most frightening sight of all. One that shook the police officer to the bone. It was a 6-year-old girl wearing nothing but a dirty diaper. She was starved.
Here’s what the officer reported when he went inside: “When I entered the room, her eyes widened. She opened her mouth and then crawled sideways, like a crab, to the corner, pulled her knees to her chin, and wrapped her arms around them. Then she started making grunting noises.”
Turns out the girl’s name was Danielle, and she was rushed to the hospital immediately. Rather than a 6-year-old normal speaking girl, she spoke and acted like a 6-month-old baby. There was clearly no love coming from her mother. Rather massive abuse had taken place.
The mom was sent to jail where she initially stayed for 26 hours, but eventually was sentenced to 2 years of house arrest and 3 years of probation. Danielle was removed from the household and from the woman’s care.
Rather than being sent to an orphanage, a loving couple emerged with intentions to adopt her. Diane and Bernie Lierows were already proud parents of four sons. They had never experienced raising a daughter and realized right away this would be a great opportunity for them and for the child to be raised in a very loving home.
Right before her 8th birthday, Danielle was indeed adopted by the family. The psychological wounds run extremely deep and life for Danielle was far from easy.
Her new father describes the difficulties: “She has 7 or 8 fits everyday. And she’s very concerned with food. She often eats until she has to throw up.”
It’s so bad that they have to lock the fridge with a chain. They learned that otherwise, Danielle will get in there and clear out all the contents. Naturally this stems from her mom leaving her to starve.
Now 15-years-old, Danielle is doing much better. She has a close relationship with her new dad, and does enjoy going to school. Her dad talks about her still child-like nature stemming from her horrible past: “She’s a 2-year-old in the body of a 15-year-old girl.”
But each day is a new leap into adulthood. There is hope that she will catch up and even become independent. Marriage is even a possibility for the future the parents believe. “Having Dani in our lives is like a roller coaster. One that we don’t want to get off of,” said her parents.
Here is a video of Dani’s story: