Half-animal half-woman in Cambodian jungle

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jan 18 | Updated: Jan 19 2007, 05:30am hrs
A woman who disappeared in the jungles of northeastern Cambodia as a child has apparently been found after living in the wild for 19 years, police and a man claiming to be her father said on Thursday.

The womanbelieved to be Rochom Pngieng, who would now be 27 years old cannot speak any intelligible language, so details of her saga have been difficult to confirm.

When I saw her, she was naked and walking in a bending-forward position like a monkey...She was bare-bones skinny, said 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 at Oyadao district in Rattanakiri province, where the woman was found last Saturday. Rochom Pngieng, then 8 years old, disappeared in 1988 when she was herding buffalo in a remote jungle area, said Chea Bunthoeun, a deputy provincial police chief.

The province is about 325 kilometres northeast of capital Phnom Penh. Mao San, 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 recognized his daughter by a scar on her right arm, a result of a cut from a knife she played with when she was young.