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April 14 2013
Marina Chapman says she isn't as mobile as she once was. It's not so easy to climb trees these days, let alone swing from them. Well, she is about 60 or 62 years old – maybe older. She's not sure. Chapman is tiny, sinewy, bendy. At times she doesn't look quite human – a bit simian, a bit feline and quite beautiful.
Perhaps it's not surprising that Marina Chapman seems different from the rest of us. In her formative years, she says, she grew up with monkeys. Only monkeys. For around five years (again, she's unsure – there is no reliable means of measuring) she says she lived deep in the Colombian jungle with no human company. She remembers learning to fend for herself – eating berries and roots, nabbing bananas dropped by the monkeys, sleeping in holes in trees and walking on all fours. By the time she was rescued by hunters, she says, she had lost her language completely. And that's when life really got tough. She claims she was sold into a brothel in the city of Cúcuta, lived as a street urchin and was enslaved by a mafia family, before being saved by a neighbour and eventually moving to Bradford, Yorkshire. Which is where we find her today.
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