Dani with William, her new brother (Dani's Story)
Dani was born in 1998, in Las Vegas, to Michelle Crockett.
Michelle has military connections.
Michelle's husband was a veteran of the Vietnam war and died in 1997.
He died as a result of exposure to the Pentagon's 'Agent Orange'.
Michelle has an IQ score of 77, much below average.
Michelle doesn't know the name of the Dani's father.
("The Girl in the Window" / Wild at heart - NYPOST.com)
Michelle moved to Plant City, Florida, where she was 'frequently seen with strange men in casinos'.
(Plant City is near MacDill Airforce Base, reputed to be connected to the CIA's MK ULTRA experiments on children)
Michelle lived in a rented house with two adult sons, one of them mentally retarded, and a boyfriend.
As early as 2002, someone called the child abuse hotline about a child "left unattended for days with a retarded older brother, never seen wearing anything but a diaper."
The authorities, as usual, decided not to rescue the child.
In 2005, when Dani was nearly 7, "a neighbor saw Dani's pale, wan face appear in the window - and then quickly vanish."
The authorities were called, for the third time.
Dani's house was filled with human waste and cockroaches.
Dani, semi naked, lay on a torn mouldy mattress on the floor.
Her ribs stuck out.
Her matted hair crawled with lice.
Her skin was covered in bites, rashes and sores.
Dani was taken to a hospital. ("The Girl in the Window")
Dani couldn't chew or swallow solid food.
She had never been to school or previously seen a doctor.
The hospital doctor now wrote: "the child will be disabled for the rest of her life."
She wouldn't make eye contact.
She couldn't talk.
Medical tests, including brain scans, found nothing innately wrong with Dani.
But, "there was no light in her eye, no response or recognition. . . . We saw a little girl who didn't even respond to hugs or affection."
According to Dani's first teacher: "She had a lot of episodes of great agitation, yelling, flailing her arms, rolling into a fetal position.
"She'd curl up in a closet, just to be away from everyone.
"She didn't know how to climb a slide or swing on a swing. She didn't want to be touched." ("The Girl in the Window")
William, Diane, Dani, Bernie
Bernie and Diane Lierow, who have young son called William, decided to adopt Dani.
When Bernie first met Dani at her school, "Danielle turned toward him and her eyes seemed to focus.
"He held out his hand. She let him pull her to her feet."
Danielle's teacher hadn't seen her warm to anyone so quickly.
Dani let Bernie push her gently on the swing.
"When it was time for them to part, Bernie swore he saw Danielle wave." ("The Girl in the Window")
That night, bernie had a dream.
"Two giant hands slid through his bedroom ceiling, the fingers laced together. Dani was swinging on those hands, her dark eyes wide, thin arms reaching for him." ("The Girl in the Window")
Bernie and Diane brought Dani home on Easter weekend 2007.
"They gave her a doll; she bit off its hands...
"They took her to the beach; she screamed and wouldn't put her feet in the sand...
"She couldn't sit still to watch TV or look at a book...
"When they tried to brush her teeth or comb her hair, she kicked and thrashed...
"She wouldn't lie in a bed, wouldn't go to sleep, just rolled on her back, side to side, for hours." ("The Girl in the Window")
Dani in her new home
In October 2007, Bernie and Diane officially adopted Dani.
After a year with her new family, Dani grew 12 inches and her weight doubled.
Dani's shoulder-length hair turned a golden blond.
Dani started going to occupational and physical therapy, to church, the mall, the grocery store, speech classes and horseback riding lessons.
Dani began to say a few words.
The first she spoke was "baaa."
William, her new brother heard Dani say, "Stop!" and "No!" He thought he even heard her say his name.
William, aged ten, taught Dani how to play peek-a-boo.
William moved out of his bedroom so Dani could sleep upstairs.
William slept in the laundry room.
Dani improved month by month.
She learnt to swim.
She learnt that her name is Dani.
Dani and William
In 2011, Dani continues to live "deep in the lush Tennessee countryside" on Diane and Bernie Lierow’s 25-acre farm. (Diane and Bernie Lierow: 'We knew that Dani needed us ... - Daily Mail)
The farm contains prizewinning Boer goats, which 13-year-old William shows in competitions, miniature ponies, chickens, and various dogs.
Dani is now aged 13.
"In the past six months, she has improved more than in the last couple of years," Bernie says proudly.
Now, she can go to the cupboard, get a glass and get herself a drink of water.
And she’s much more open; she will look at people now.
(Dani’s Story by Diane and Bernie Lierow, with Kay West, Penguin/Michael Joseph)