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18 Years Lost in the Jungle – DNA Test Unites Father and Child


Every few years a remarkable news story captures the public imagination. A woman lost in the jungle for 19 years, was recently found in a remote village on the Cambodian-Vietnamese border. She was claimed by Sal Lou to be his daughter, who disappeared aged eight in 1988 while tending a buffalo herd. But the mystery of the jungle-girl’s identity deepened when he withdrew permission for a DNA test. If she was his daughter, why would he deny a test?

DNA test to prove identity

When Rochom P’ngient, the woman supposedly lost in the jungle for 18 years, was found, her father said she was bare bones and scuttling like a monkey on the ground snatching grains of rice, her eyes “red like a tiger’s”. But when pictures of her revealed a healthy young woman, suspicions increased and officials asked for a test to prove her identity.

Mystery deepened

The mystery behind the remarkable story deepened after Lou withdrew permission to take a DNA test to confirm her identity and police had to cordon off their home to keep the world’s media at bay. The reason Lou gave for withdrawing the test was that he wanted to be left alone in order to make up for lost time with his daughter.

Ultimate proof

With rumours of a further mysterious naked man being spotted in the Cambodian jungle, the only way to confirm 100% that the man is the woman’s father would be through DNA.

Identifying marks

The remoteness of the village and the rugged mountain area has all added to the mystery. The suspicions increased as the man who claims to be her father says that scars on her wrist, sustained after she was playing with a knife as a child, identify her. Although sceptics believe the scars are a result of being bound at the wrist – a common practice in some remote villages for the mentally ill. Only a DNA based test would prove her identity for sure.

Testing would put rumours to rest

But the woman’s supposed mother, Rochom Soy, also believed the girl to be their child and said she was showing signs of recognising them, despite only being able to communicate in sign language. But it has also been reported that she screams when her parents approach and that she has tried to escape back into the jungle several times. It seems only a DNA test would put the rumours to rest.