On July 13th, 2005, Mark Holste, a police detective from the Florida, USA received a phone call. Although he was used to similar calls, but it turned out to be the most bizarre case he had ever come across. In his words, “It was the worst neglect situation I’ve ever seen.”
Let’s have a look at the story.
The miserable home
A desolate house that had never shown any signs of life in the past suddenly had a girl’s thin and pale face peeking out of the window.
The solicitous neighbour
Noticing this, a concerned neighbour called the state child abuse and neglect reporting number.
The mortifying scene
When officer Mark Holste entered inside, he found animal waste lying all over the floor along with old chewed up food, trash, spiderwebs, and thousands of cockroaches.
The unfortunate child
He recalled finding a 7-year-old malnutrition girl who was sitting in the trash and was wearing only a dirty diaper in a small and dark room.
The odd reactions
He says, “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.”
The immediate aftermath
The neglected girl’s name is Danielle. She was taken to the hospital at once. As she never had parental care, her speech and manners were similar to those of a 6-month-old child.
Her hapless past
Her mother had been sent to jail for 26 hours, was in 2 years of house arrest and on 3 years of probation. Declaring her incapable of responsibility, Danielle was taken away from her.
A fresh start
Luckily, instead of being sent to an orphanage, she was adopted by a caring couple, Diane and Bernie Lierows. Although they already had four sons, they readily accepted her. Only a few days before her 8th birthday, she was welcomed to the new family.
A new life
But life still wasn’t a smooth ride for her. She had to come out of the psychological wounds of her past and adapt to the new lifestyle, the normal one.
Bernie says, “She has 7-8 figs daily. And she’s very concerned with food. She often eats until she has to throw up.”
A sad solution
The parents have to lock the refrigerator with a chain to make her stop eating.
The joyful present
Now, Danielle is 15 years old. She enjoys school and has a close relationship with her new father. He says, “She’s a 2-year-old in the body of a 15-year-old girl.”
Towards the future
She has been making her way towards adulthood. Her parents have hopes for her independence and marriage. “Having Dani in our lives is like a roller coaster. One that we don’t want to get off of,” they say.
Only if everybody were so good at heart, this world would be such a better place.