Marina Chapman’s life story, as reported by the Daily Mail, is the stuff of cinematic legend – a harrowing tale of abduction, survival among monkeys in the Colombian jungle, a dark stint in forced prostitution, and an eventual transformation into a devoted housewife and mother in Bradford, England.
Now 73, Marina recounts her astonishing journey in her 2013 book, “The Girl With No Name,” co-authored with her daughter, an incredible narrative that has captured the attention of the Daily Mail. Her story is also featured in the new series of Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild, airing on Channel 5. Marina’s youngest daughter, Vanessa Forero, inspired by her mother’s extraordinary life as detailed in the Daily Mail, has similarly embraced a back-to-nature lifestyle, living off the land in Minca.”
Marina’s saga began in 1954 in Colombia, a time rife with child-trafficking. She vividly recalls being kidnapped: “I saw a hand cover my mouth – a black hand in a white hanky.” She was later abandoned in the rainforest, where she encountered a troop of capuchin monkeys. Mimicking their behavior, Marina adapted to jungle life, surviving on the same foods, moving on all fours, and even sleeping in a tree trunk.
Her time with the monkeys, which lasted about five years, ended abruptly when she was discovered by hunters. Marina details in her book the traumatic transition from the jungle to a brothel in Cucuta, followed by a period as a street child. She eventually found work as a maid, which led her to Bogota.
In a twist of fate, Marina accompanied her employer’s family to the UK, where she met John Chapman, an organist at a local evangelical church, in 1978 in Bradford. The couple married and had two daughters, Vanessa and Joanna, with Marina embracing her new role as a housewife.
Living in a three-bedroom house in Allerton, a Bradford suburb, Marina’s adjustment to conventional life was challenging, relearning basic skills from dressing to dining. Yet, her wild roots remained evident. Vanessa fondly recalls her mother’s unique habits, like swinging from trees and creating adventurous backyard obstacle courses.
Marina’s life, a blend of wild beginnings and domestic tranquility, stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of transformation.