'The Girl In The Window' 13 Years Later! Danielle Was Rescued By Adoptive Parents After Years Of Horrific Abuse. She Is Now 19 And Still Struggling
When it comes to childhood, some unlucky children have to endure unimaginable things, either because of the hardship of their circunstances, or orse yet, tfrom their own parents. That was the case for Danielle. For the first six years of her life, she endured such horrific abuse that she was not even allowed to see the sun or eat solid foods at all.
Her pain came to an end one day, when a neighbor saw the sad, pale girl peering out of a broken window. The neighbor, who had never seen any kid around or outside the house, was concerned that a child in that house was being neglected.
On July 13, 2005, Detective Mark Holste of Florida's Plant City Police Department responded to a call by the worried neighbor and what he saw that day printed a memory in his mind that would never be forgotten .
He disclosed that the girl's home was in such a state of filth that there were feces all over the floor. "Trash was everywhere," he said suring an interview to the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2009. There were all kinds of stuff in all areas of the home including chewed-up food, cockroaches, and spiders.
The detective found Danielle, 6 at the time, in the midst of all the mess. The child was in a terrible state. She looked dirty, malnourished and had nothing on but a soiled diaper. Holste said:
Her mouth dropped open and she did a little crab-walk into the corner, and tucked her knees up to her mouth and put her hands around her knees. And started making grunting noises.
The girl was taken to a hospital where it was soon learned that not only was this child starved and severely neglected, she had also suffered from extreme developmental disadvantages. In fact, the doctors compared her behavior and language skills to that of a 6-month-old.
Danielle's mother was eventually found and was sentenced to 26 hours in jail and two years of house arrest, plus three years in probation. Her parental rights were terminated and Danielle became a ward of the state.
After her story aired, Danielle became popularly known as the 'Girl In The Window.' About two years later, Bernie and Diane Lierow came across her story and knew they wanted to take this child in.
The couple, who was looking to adopt, was told by the agency that took Danielle in was probably not the best idea. Because of her painful childhood, she had suffered the worst trauma anyone had ever seen. The almost 8-year-old child was unable to talk, eat solid foods or function as well as anyone her age.
Hearing about the girl's struggles did not deter the Leirows. On the contrary, it instilled in them the belief that God had sent this child into their lives so that they could save her. They went on to adopt the little girl who had been described as a 'feral child.'
Things were quite challenging for the family in those first few months after Danielle moved in. Bernie told Oprah, in 2009, that the girl would often have "tantrums seven or eight times a day." Diane added:
Food was a constant concern of hers. She would eat it until she threw up.
As a teenager
By the time she was 15, Danielle had made a lot of progress. She had learned a few things and seemed to be doing well. She was not speaking a lot, but Bernie said she would mutter 'hey, Dad' and even 'I love you" sometimes.'
Danielle also seemed to bond and respond better to Bernie and her brother than to Diane. It was believed that her ordeal with her birth mom years ago may have had something to do with this.
She doesn’t like women figures that are like mothers. She just kind of clings to me.
Where is Danielle today?
Bernie and Diana continued to help Danielle but things were not progressing as they would like. Sadly, in 2015, the couple got divorced after 18 years of marriage.
Bernie did not blame Danielle for this but felt that there always seemed to be a lot of stress which kept them from making time as a couple.
As for the young girl, she was still facing difficulties. Bernie got to a point where he admitted that Danielle might have reached her limit.
'I finally had to admit: God, this is a little too much for me.
When she turned 18, she became eligible for Social Security and Medicaid. Bernie made the decision to take her to a small group home where she could get the help she needed.
Saying goodbye was incredibly emotional. Bernie told her:
Daddy can't take care of you anymore. You'll have to stay here. But I'll come visit.
Danielle turned 19 in September 2017. And Bernie continues to visit her in the home from time to time.