Every parent will agree on one thing: having a child kidnapped would be an unfathomable nightmare to live through. Unfortunately, it does happen, and the only thing a mother and father can do is pray that they return home safely.

When Marina Chapman was just four years old, she disappeared from her parents’ home in Columbia. She suddenly found herself alone in the middle of the dense Colombian jungle with no one to turn to. However, a helping hand came to her in the most unusual and unexpected form.

Marina Chapman doesn’t really know much about her life before being taken. She believes she was born sometime in the 1950s, raised by a family in Columbia. This was where disaster eventually struck…

Marina doesn’t know what her given name was, as she chose the name “Marina” later in life. But she does remember being stolen and the nightmare that lasted for years…

According to Marina, not long before her fifth birthday, she was playing in her parents’ vegetable garden. She was sitting down picking peas when a strong arm suddenly jerked her backward and a rag full of chloroform was placed over her mouth.

The last thing she remembered before passing out from the chemical was two people placing her into the back of a van, slamming the doors, and speeding away. She had no idea if she’d ever see her parents, or anyone she ever knew for that matter, again.

Marina could do nothing but think about her mother and father. Why was she kidnapped? Did their family have enemies? She even briefly thought her parents were behind it all as a punishment for picking through their garden.

When Marina finally awoke, she found herself crammed in the back of a van with a group of whimpering children. Whoever her captors were, they had been busy scooping up other kids too. Marina soon fell into unconsciousness again…

The young girl woke up to the feeling of slaps on her face. She thought they were human hands at first, but quickly realized they were massive leaves. Her captors had hoisted her over their shoulders and were carrying her deep into the thick Colombian jungle.

Marina was groggy and couldn’t make out the details of the people she was with, but out of nowhere, they started to run. It seemed like they were afraid of something, and after running for a few minutes, they simply dropped her on the ground and fled.

Scared, hungry, and alone, Marina looked for a place to sleep. She dug out a small trench by a tree stump and curled up into a ball. The sun woke her up the next morning, and when she opened her eyes, she was completely surrounded…by monkeys.

Marina had no idea what to do, until suddenly, one of the animals dropped a piece of fruit close to her. She scampered over to it and ate. Were the monkeys actually trying to feed her?

Weeks turned into months, months into years, and Marina claims she grew incredibly close with the primates over that time — they were like family. To this day, she attributes her jungle survival to them. However, she would eventually be stripped, yet again, from a family…

One afternoon a group of poachers entered the forest. The now 10-year-old Marina hid behind a thick tree and watched as they used their machetes to carve a path through the vegetation. One of the poachers was a woman who appeared kind and gentle, so Marina came out of hiding and approached the group…

The group was in complete disbelief when they saw Marina. The young girl’s skin was covered in dirt, she was walking on all fours, and her hair was nearly as long as her body. The poachers brought Marina out of the jungle to the Colombian city of Cucuta, but tragically, she was far from safe.

The group brought Marina to a run-down brothel on the outskirts of the city where she was sold to a woman named Ana-Karmen. Marina doesn’t know how long she was there for, but life was miserable. However, one day while Ana-Karmen was occupied, Marina escaped. 

Now Marina was homeless, in a big city. Luckily, she banded together with some other homeless children, and they were able to scavenge for food and shelter when needed. It wasn’t ideal, but it was far better than life at the brothel. Marina eventually landed a job as a maid, but not everything was as it seemed…

The family members she worked for were actually notorious criminals, and they enslaved Marina. But, while captive yet again, she met a neighbor named Maruja. She secretly bought Marina a plane ticket to the city of Bogota, where Marina was welcomed by Maruja’s daughter. But, was Marina finally safe? 

Miraculously, Maruja’s daughter showed Marina the love and affection she had been missing for most of her life. Marina got a lucrative job at a textile factory, and eventually followed Maruja’s family to Bradford, England. There, she fell in love with a man named John and the two wed.

Marina has been happily married for years now; she has two daughters and grandchildren, as well! She wrote a book called The Girl With No Name detailing the events in her life, and she still considers herself “the woman who was raised by monkeys.”

Although the events of her life might seem difficult to believe, Marina swears by her story. She was stripped of a family at four years old, but she considers the years she spent with the monkeys to have had an incredibly positive effect on her outlook.

Most people would never have had the will to survive the events Marina did. Finding yourself in the middle of the jungle would almost certainly be a death sentence, but Marina miraculously bonded with the environment around her, and she had the monkeys to thank for it.

Do you think Marina was actually raised by monkeys for those years she supposedly spent in the jungle or is she just an adventurous storyteller?

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