London: The tale of a Yorkshire housewife, who spent five years in her childhood with a colony of capuchin monkeys in Colombia, is going to be told for the first time in a book and planned television documentary, it has been revealed.
Marina Chapman learnt how to catch birds and rabbits with her bare hands after being abandoned in the jungle by kidnappers.
The Tarzan-like episode was brought to an end when she was discovered by hunters but by her ordeal continued when she was sold to a brothel in the city of Cucuta and groomed for prostitution.
According to the account given to a newspaper, Chapman escaped and spent years on the streets, sometimes being arrested and kept in a cell but was eventually taken in by a Colombian family to work as a maid in her mid-teens, and took the name of Marina Luz.
Later, during her mid-twenties she travelled with a neighbouring family who went to stay in Bradford on business for six months and stayed after she met John Chapman, then a 29-year-old bacteriologist, at a church meeting.
They married in 1977.
She and her family have now decided to tell her story to help highlight the horrors of human trafficking in South America.
Chapman believes she was born in about 1950 and she was kidnapped when she was five before being abandoned in the jungle.
“It’s assumed that the kidnap went wrong,” the telegraph quoted Vanessa James, one of Chapman’s two daughters, as saying.
The film and TV composer has helped her mother with her book ‘The Girl with No Name.’
“All she can remember is being chloroformed with a hand over her mouth. And all she can recall of her life before that is having a black doll as a toddler,” Vanessa told the Sunday Times.
“She obviously learnt to fend for herself and only once got very ill when she ate some poisonous berries.
“I got bedtime stories about the jungle, as did my sister. We didn’t think it odd - it was just Mum telling her life. So in a way it was nothing special having a mother like that,” she said.
Experts say monkeys have been known to accept young humans into their fold and there has been a previous case in which a four-year-old Ugandan boy was left in the jungle for more than a year to live with vervet monkeys before being rescued and adapting well to life with people.