A feral six-year-old girl found trapped in a house of horrors has turned 20.
Danielle 'Dani' Crockett was rescued by police after someone passing her home spotted a young face through a broken window in July 2005.
When officers entered the property, they discovered rooms full of urine, faeces and cockroaches.
Dani, almost seven, was found inside a dark room the size of a wardrobe wearing a swollen diaper.
Her skeletal body – covered in maggots, lice and flies – was curled up on a moldy mattress.
Police detective Mark Holste, who was first on the scene, told local media: "It was the worst neglect situation I've ever seen."
Dani was immediately removed from the home in Florida, US, and taken to Tampa General Hospital where medics discovered she could not walk, talk or eat solid food.
She weighed in at just over three stone and was developmentally likened to an infant by doctors, The Epoch Times reports.
The director of pediatric psychology at the University of South Florida medical school, Dr Kathleen Armstrong, told the Tampa Bay Times that 85 percent of a child's brain develops during her first five years of life.
Armstrong described the young girl to be environmentally autistic, given the major lack of human interaction she had endured.
Her birth mother, Michelle Crockett, was arrested. She told authorities she was a single mother who was trying to do the best she could after being left widowed.
Dani, who was born a healthy baby weighing seven pounds and six ounces, stayed in the hospital for roughly six weeks after her rescue.
Prior to her being discovered by police in 2005, people had called to report seeing a little girl naked and starving twice in 2002.
Social workers had offered Michelle help, but she declined and Dani was left in her custody.
Michelle waived her parental rights as part of a plea deal in 2005 and was sentenced to two years of house arrest and probation. She never served any time behind bars.
In October 2007, Dani was adopted by Bernie and Diane Lierow. The couple said they had always wanted a daughter and believed God had placed her in their lives for a reason.
The family took Dani to the beach, horseback riding therapy, occupational therapy, church, several doctors and taught her to swim.
They also enrolled her in public school, special education classes and private speech therapy sessions five days a week.
The Lierows moved to a farm in Tennessee shortly after where adoptive dad Bernie rehabilitated horses and raised goats.
In 2015, the couple got divorced after an 18-year marriage.
Dad Bernie continued to care for Dani until she turned 18 and became eligible for Social Security and Medicaid, a health insurance program.
Dani later moved into a small group home 40 minutes from Nashville.
Since dropping her off, Bernie has continued to visit once a month.
He says she still cannot speak or write but appears content.
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