According to Judge Sheehan, the state of Florida charged Danielle's mother with child neglect, and her parental rights were terminated. "After she had her rights terminated, she actually appealed not only to the first layer of the Appellate Courts but to the Florida Supreme Court," Judge Sheehan says. "She fought very vigorously for her parental rights."
Eight months after Danielle was rescued, her mother was finally arrested. "She spent about 26 hours in jail, was released and vigorously fought against the criminal charges," Judge Sheehan says. "Ultimately, she entered a plea and the state gave her a deal." Danielle's mother was sentenced two years of house arrest followed by three years of probation.
"So she, all along—other than that 26 hours—is a free woman who is out to go on about life," she says. "Poor Danielle is left with the horrible effects for the rest of her life."
The Oprah Winfrey Show contacted Danielle's biological mother for a statement through her attorney. Her attorney has not returned our calls.