Tuesday, 10 April 2012

J: Jungle Child

On the 13 January 2007, a young woman was reported, emerging out of the jungle at Ratanakerii Provence in the remote north eastern part of Cambodia.. She was naked, filthy, and to crawled on her hands and feet. A man was later seen and he was naked and filthy too. The woman had stolen food from a worker's lunch box. He had followed and tracked her into the jungle. A family from a nearby village claimed she was their daughter "Rochom P'ngieng" (born 1988) that they had lost 18 or 19 years previously at the age of 8 years. She and her younger sister were watching water buffalo in the jungle near to the Vietnam border when they both disappeared. The 6 year old was never seen again. The woman was called the feral child as she could not say any words.

A journalist thought she had been possibly kept in captivity. She had scars on her wrists and ankles. They thought the scars were due to rope injuries. The man who said she was his daughter, Rochom Soy, recognised her by scars she had on her arm, which she had received from a knife injury prior to her disappearance. Her father said her facial structure was similar to that of her mother's. It was arranged for blood tests to prove they were related  but the family backed out at the last minute. They found that after a few weeks later the girl struggled to  come to terms with a civilised way of living. She was timid and kept trying to run away back to the jungle.

A reporter who visited one day, thought it purely coincidence and that she had probably been the victim of sexual torture of some kind. By the condition of her feet she had not been in the woods for that many years. Apparently, she could eat with a spoon without needing anyone to show her. Through time she could speak three words, mother, father and stomach ache.
Over the years up to 2010, she began to cope better, she wore clothes and mixed with the children laughing with them but she never spoke. They tried spiritual cleansing with the Buddha, She was treated by psychologists, but she would be sad during the day and restless at night. On one particular day she said she was going for a shower and she disappeared into the jungle. Neighbours heard her crying whilst out hunting for her. When they eventually found her she was down in a deep toilet and they couldn't understand how she had managed to get inside. she was covered in excrement. They took her home and she began to live a better life. By 2011, She was seeing a psychologist once a week, she preferred to sleep outside in a  chicken shed and she started to make eye contact. Then later she began to eat with them every three to four days.

To this day some say she is still under going psychology treatment and receiving help from her family, whilst others say she could not cope and went back to the jungle. Either way despite being a fascinating story it's very sad that we will probably never find out the truth


  1. What a heartrending story this is.

  2. Hi, I thought so too. I guess we all hope for a happy ending, don't we?? However if the jungle was all she had ever known - perhaps she was happy!

  3. Hi Jenny .. very sad, but interesting story, poor girl - she probably just wants to be alone without much 'company' ... Difficult situation - cheers Hilary

  4. Really interesting post!

    It is very sad but maybe, as you say, she's happier in the environment that she grew up in.

  5. As I mentioned to a friend late yesterday evening.

    I would like to think that for every one step forward and ten step back she takes. One day, she will be brave enough to carry them on through!

    Perhaps her male friend might join her. On the other hand - it's possibly wishful thinking on my part.

    Hope your having a lovely day!

  6. Hi Denise,

    Mmm - I think living naturally is healthy and good. Perhaps it depends on whether your high or low maintenance. I know what I am.

    Hope you day is good.