Marina Chapman was around four years old when she says she was abandoned in the Colombian jungle. Survival in this unforgiving landscape was only possible thanks to a family of capuchin monkeys. Her ordeal didn’t end there, though. Because when she left the rainforest, she walked into an even bigger nightmare.
Chapman’s knowledge of her early life is hazy. She believes she was born in around 1950, in Colombia. And her earliest memory was of an event which would forever change her life. It began with her playing outside her family home. “[Then] I saw a hand cover my mouth – a black hand in a white hanky. I realized there were two people taking me away,” she told The Guardian in 2013.
Before Chapman knew what was happening, she was thrown into the boot of a car. She claims that they drove into the jungle, where the kidnappers removed her from the vehicle and simply left her where she stood. Completely alone in the rainforest, she told The Guardian she “screamed and nobody came.” With little choice, she says she decided to start walking, and keep going until she found someone to help.