A New Life After Neglect

   By drodriguez  Mar 11, 2009

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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robert76 by robert76 | LA, CA
Aug 11, 2023

hello there

newfiegirl1971 by newfiegirl1971 | corner brook, OU
Jun 13, 2009

I am really happy to hear that Dani is doing alot better now and has found someone who will love her the way a child should be loved..As for the Mother...they gave her a slap on the wrist,told her not to do that no more and sent her along her way so maybe someday she will have another Dani and do the same to her....God i wonder what is going on in the justice system....People treat their animals better then that mother treated her daughter....I think about all the people in the world who wish everyday to have a son or daughter and can't and people like that have them and treat them badly...as a mother i could never find anything in my life that is more wonderful then my children...they are what is important in life..nothing compares to when your little girl looks at you and says i love you mommy

jerseygyrl143 by jerseygyrl143 | cape coral, FL
May 24, 2009

Thank goodness for that neighbor that called in and reported it. I think the mother should have been sent to jail for a very long time for this, what lesson did she learn? obviously she didnt want her child anyway so why would she care only having to give up her rights to the child? what if she happens to have another child? will they let the same thing happen again? I am so happy for Dani that she has a new loving family! Just THANK GOD they found her before she died in the living situation. This kind of reminds of the book called "A Child Called It".

ginabear by ginabear | Horicon, WI
May 01, 2009

The biological mother didn't get punished nearly enough for what she did to that little girl. I always felt horrible after hearing stories about children being abused or neglected, but since I became a mom I can barely read/listen to the stories. Children look to their parents to love and care for them. To teach them. To laugh with them. To dream with them. I hope that Dani flourishes with her new parents and learns that love and understanding are two of the best things we can give each other.

makeetis by makeetis | WELLSTON, OH
Apr 19, 2009

Child abuse seems to get to me more than anything. I believe the biological parent should be sent to prison for a long time and not aloud any more children. To think of what that little girl went through is so hard for me to understand. I wish that little girl all the love and best wishes because at least it sounds like she has people to love her. That's mostly what kids want. Love and attention.

lia7704 by lia7704 | Baxter, TN
Apr 19, 2009

I seriously hope that the woman never has another child. Poor Dani! Thank the neighbor that called athorities! Now take that woman, give her the same treatment, add a few things to make it worse, and show her how it feels. I honestly don't think that probation was enough, it was actually nothing! That heffer should not be called a woman NOR a mother. She doesn't even deserve to be called anything at all. A mother don't do those things to their child, much less a woman! That is a mentally disturbed idiot! Children are precious by all means! No child deserves that. I may be a little out of line for some, but .... the poor little girl!

Jen7145 by Jen7145 | CONNEAUT, OH
Apr 17, 2009

This woman, do not call her a mother, deserves what she gave this child. A small room, a box a diapers and no human contact. Actually, how about a psychological evaluation and then sterilization. Probation!!? How about this girl will never function to her full potential. To me this woman killed Dani's soul and she goes on to live her life. Pray to God she never has another child!!!

LighthouseLady by LighthouseLady | Parma, OH
Apr 11, 2009

I am appaled at this type of abuse. As a mother I can not see how a woman could do this to her child, or any child for that matter! Our children depend on us to nurture and care for them, protect them and teach them how to survive in this world. This woman should be forced to live the way her daughter had to!!!

ccbmom by ccbmom | Hudson, OH
Apr 08, 2009

Words can not describe how this makes me feel. Dani is lucky to have found the arms of loving parents and hopefully she will continue to thrive and improve. She is now in my prayers.

kristi3374 by kristi3374 | Stanford, KY
Apr 02, 2009

I am so sad by this story. I myself am a mom to three boys and an angel in heaven i lost her during pregnancy with my son they were twins. I cannot even begin to comprehend the mental state of a person to do this to a beautiful helpless child. The judicial system has failed as far as I am concerned SEVERLY!!!!! No punishment what were they thinking and it to be public knowledge that nothing but a pat on the wrist is all she recieved. MY Goddness the horrible people out there can only think hmmm maybe they could get away with it. On another positive note I am so happy for Dani that she has found the love and safety and nurtering she has deserved her whole life. I will pray for her and her family that she will heal and be blessed beyond measure. I only hope more people will speak up if they see something wrong.

Teresajane by Teresajane | Columbiana, AL
Apr 01, 2009

On the subject of proper punishment. It does not seem that the punishment fit the crime. Although, a plea bargain for the decreased sentence in exchange for relinquishing her parental rights may have been the only way to assure Dani was free from the possibility of ever being returned to her Mother. Thank goodness for that fact!

beavis35 by beavis35 | Woolwich twp, NJ
Mar 29, 2009

Laws are not tough enough when it comes to child abuse and murder. Parents can virtually do anything to their children without little or no punishment from the law. These deliberate acts of abuse should result in "death to the abuser." These people are evil to the core and can not be rehabilitated - society is better off without them. This mom essentially killed this little girl - she will never have a normal life and may grow up to be an abuser herself. Hopefully this will not be the case with Dani. This poor little girl - the mom is a monster. Of course, I am sure the mother has a list of excuses for her behavior. I am tired of our bleeding heart society making excuses for this behavior. It is all part of the new "its not my fault" society.

smiling_mama by smiling_mama | MERIDIAN, ID
Mar 26, 2009

This has to be the worst thing that could happen to a child. Unimaginable!! I am so thankful that Dani is now safe with a new family and God willing she will eventually forget all about her ordeal for 6 very long years. What is wrong with the "system" to let that cold heart ed, worthless piece of a human being to get away with such a thing. I am a mother of 2. I could not imagine. Just the thought makes me sick to my stomach.

Daintry2 by Daintry2 | New Braunfels, TX
Mar 23, 2009

I cry everytime I hear of things like this happening. I couldn't imagine doing those things to a defenseless child. What one earth could a child do for the "parents" to think that the child "deserves" it. People who do that should be made to live in the same conditions, only that will never happen, there are LAWS against it. I have one little girl, and would love to have more children, it may not ever happen, and everything I read these stories, I wonder why someone get's blessed with a child only to torture them.

SierraNevada by SierraNevada | Dayton, NV
Mar 21, 2009

I heard another story here in Nevada, same type of parents, torturing their 3 children from birth,locking them up in dog kennels, these children couldn't speak, cry normally,have real feelings, they were treated like animals, now if you don't want children in this world, don't HAVE THEM, b-cuz I love my children!