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A New Life After Neglect

A New Life After Neglect

We all nurture and care for our children, worrying daily over whether they are eating enough vegetables or learning well in school.  This is why hearing a story like Dani’s is so utterly disturbing.  Danielle “Dani” Crockett was found at the age of six by authorities in her Plant City, Florida home living in a dark room the size of a walk-in closet filled with dirty diapers and cockroaches. 

A St. Petersburg Times article outlines the events which took place before and after Dani was rescued and eventually taken in by a loving family.  A neighbor called police to report possible abuse of a child after seeing a small girl’s face in the window of one of the roomsDetective Mark Holste described the rescue of Dani after speaking with her mother, Michelle Crockett, and finding Dani in the closet.  Holste reported, “The pile of dirty diapers in that room must have been 4 feet high.  The glass in the window had been broken, and that child was lying there, surrounded by her own excrement and bugs.”

After the detective received Michelle Crockett’s only excuse for the state that her six-year-old daughter was in, “I’m doing the best I can,” he took the (emaciated and covered cockroach bites) child to the hospital.  At the hospital, doctors examined Dani.  It was obvious Dani had never been cared for, held, or even talked to.  She had literally only been fed    She was unable to speak, use the toilet, hold a doll, feed herself, or make eye contact with doctors.  Dr. Kathleen Armstrong described Dani’s case as, “the most outrageous case of neglect I’ve ever seen.”

Dani now lives with her adoptive parents Bernie and Diane Lierow in a loving home where she is cared for and attended to around the clock.  Michelle Crockett, Dani’s biological mother, gave up her parental rights in exchange for not having to serve time in jail.  Crockett only faced probation and house arrest for the crimes she committed against Danielle. 

Dani is now 10-years-old.  She attends school, speech therapy and horseback riding lessons.  She has been potty trained and can feed herself.  She can hold stuffed animals and allows her new parents to hold her.  Though she may never speak more than a few words, her parents find solace in counting the “small steps”.

To read the St. Petersburg Times article about Dani you can visit:

What do you think of the story about the neglected child, Dani?

Do you feel that her biological mother was properly punished for her crime of neglect?


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  • spideysgirl By spideysgirl

    we are foster parents as well as biological parents. and we read about and see cases like this all the time. it is heartbreaking to see what these children go through and endure in such a short life. some don't survive. we don't feel the biological mother was punished enough for the crimes she commited against her daughter. there should be tougher crimes for acts such as these. atleast dani was found in time, and now has a loving family that takes care of her.

  • am_i_lost By am_i_lost

    I thank it's wonderful that Dani was found and is now in such a loving home. It's unbelievable what all she must have gone through. Michelle Crockett deserves to rot in prison!! Not get a tiny pat on the hand!! That is just as wrong as what she did to Dani!!

  • bnwsmile By bnwsmile

    I firmly believe in the golden rule. Treat others as you wish to be treated. In my honest opinion it should be implemented in our court systems. ESPECIALLY for crimes like this. Against children. Think about how the crime rate would go down. Murder would be almost nonexistent. Crimes like this they would never make it to even a thought. It's very tragic that some people can do this to a child. Incredibly horrid when they do it to their own.

  • ticklemeusilly By ticklemeusilly

    I don't feel that the biological parent was punished enough. I feel that especially in crimes against our children we have to take a stronger stand. I am happy that Dani is making progress and is living a happier life. But I am disappointed that her biological mom got off without being properly punished for her crimes.

  • denger1966 By denger1966

    I watched the story of Dani on Oprah... I was shocked that someone who could treat a child the way she was treated... My mother wasn't a very good parent and I thought my childhood was tragic... my mom looks like a normal parent after seeing that show.... I wonder how many other children like Dani are out there.... I don't think that the punishment that the mother is getting is severe enough... There are so many people who would have been happy to take Dani before all of this happened to her and loved her.... If the children out there are such a burden to the people who have them and don't want to care for them they should just admit it and give these children to people who will love and care for them. Some people should never be parents...

  • jrlsdaisy By jrlsdaisy

    I really believe that the biological mother was not punished nearly enough. If all they are going to do is pat her hand, what is to keep her from having more children and treating them the same way. I am so glad that Dani found a loving home. I wish it could have happened sooner, but at least she was found and now has love and care in her life.

  • BeSweptAway By BeSweptAway

    I am very upset about how Dani was treated! She now faces a life of turmoil, PTSD, and she can barely do for herself. The mother should have been punished severely. I cried when I read the story. The mother needs to have life in the prison system. Dani has to have life for what she will be going through for the rest of her life, due to the abuse of her mother's doings!

  • loves_hopeful By loves_hopeful

    I am a survivor of childhood abuse and I know what Dani's future as an adult could be like. Knowing this, I think her biological mother didn't pay in any way AT ALL for the crimes she commited against that beautiful little girl. On a positive note, I'm glad to hear of Dani's progress.

  • Iheartqpons By Iheartqpons

    This is ridiculous. The mother should be serving substantial jail time or worse. I am happy to hear that she has loving parents now.

  • Kratsky By Kratsky

    God bless anyone that will get involved, anyone that will make the call to report something that doesn't look or feel right, anyone that will take action to try to help those in need. The couple that have taken Dani in are being blessed each day. The woman that did this to her child must be mentally ill and needs treatment. Steps should be taken to make sure that she never gives birth to another child and that no child is ever left in her care.

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