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Authorities Rescue 5 Cave-Dwelling Children in Colombia

Posted Jun 02 2010 4:25pm

Emergency service workers near the town of Turmeque, Colombia have reportedly rescued five children who had been living since birth in a series of caves that had been specially dug for them by their father. The children, ranging in age from 8 months to 11 years were described as being frightened by strangers and had virtually no adult contact except for their parents. Three of the children were found lying in one cave, huddling together for warmth, while the two older children were in an adjoining cave. According to Alirio Garzon, a local civil defense volunteer, "Since they had no contact with the outside world, transporting them and washing them wasn’t easy. When we turned on the television, they ran away". One of the children, a two-year old girl, was hospitalized due to malnutrition while the other children are said to be in reasonably good health. They have been placed in the care of the Colombian Institute for Family Well-Being.

The father of the children, who had developed mental problems following an accident years before, is still missing as is the children's mother.  While the actual rescue took place on May 14, information concerning the incident was not made available before this week. According to Turmeque mayor, Maria Ines Osorio, "I'm not the person to comment on the parents' mental state. They did not bring their children to civilization, did not register them nor sent them to school. I do not know if there was a resentment towards society," While authorities are hoping to reunite the children with their parents, there is ongoing litigation directed against the social worker who organized the children's rescue.

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