Author Topic: Rochom P'ngieng |Found 19 Years Later in Wild After Missing in Cambodia at Age 8  (Read 1418 times)


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'Jungle woman' found after 19 years in wild

Published Date: 19 January 2007

A WOMAN who disappeared in the jungles of north-eastern Cambodia as a child has apparently been found after living in the wild for 19 years, police said yesterday.
The woman - believed to be Rochom P'ngieng, who would now be 27 years old - cannot speak any intelligible language, so details of her story have been difficult to confirm.

"When I saw her, she was naked and walking in a bending-forward position lADVERTISEMENT

ike a monkey ... She was bare-bones skinny," explained Sal Lou, who says he is her father.

"She was shaking and picking up grains of rice from the ground to eat. Her eyes were red like tigers' eyes," Sal Lou, 45, said from Oyadao district in Rattanakiri province, where the woman was found last Saturday.

Rochom P'ngieng was eight when she disappeared in 1988, while she was herding buffalo in a remote jungle area, said Chea Bunthoeun, a deputy provincial police chief. The province is about 200 miles north-east of Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.

Mao San, the police chief of Oyadao district, described the woman as "half-human and half-animal".

Sal Lou, a village policeman who is a member of the Pnong ethnic minority, said he recognised his daughter by a scar on her right arm, a result of a cut from a knife she had played with when she was young.

The woman's existence was discovered after a villager noticed that food had disappeared from a lunchbox he left at a site near his farm, Chea Bunthoeun said.

"He decided to stake out the area and then spotted a naked human being, who looked like a jungle person, sneaking in to steal his rice," he said.

The villager gathered some friends and the group managed to catch the woman. Since being found, she has had difficulty adjusting to normal life, apparently because of her long stay in the wild. Sal Lou said it was virtually impossible to communicate with her because she cannot speak the local Pnong language.

When she is hungry, she pats her stomach as a signal. "If she is not sleeping, she just sits and glances left and right, left and right," he said.

He said it was difficult bringing her back to normal life because she resisted showering, wearing clothes or using chopsticks, fending him off and shouting and crying.

Sal Lou said his family was now closely watching the woman, after she took off her clothes yesterday morning and acted as if she was going back into the jungle.

Many questions still remain unanswered about the circumstances of her disappearance and what happened to her in the wild, said Mao San.

Authorities want medical experts to take DNA samples from the parents and the woman to see if they match.