Four brothers who had been missing for 40 days in the Amazon jungle were discharged this Thursday night from the military hospital where they had been admitted since they appeared on June 9. The boys have by this time recovered from the malnourished and dehydrated conditions they presented when they were rescued. Since then, their story has attracted the attention of the entire world, who are eagerly waiting to learn how they managed to survive in the most hostile environment on the planet. The children haven’t spoken, nor are they expected to soon, but at least two books and four documentaries are already underway that seek to tell what happened.
The protection of these brothers rests in the hands of the family welfare of the Minors’ Institute. Their mother, Magdalena Mukuduy, died in the plane crash they escaped from, which has created a legal vacuum around them. Manuel Ranoc, the eldest and stepfather of the young children, should be the person in custody, but he is accused of abusing his wife. Ranok denies his crime and requests the government to hand them over to him as soon as possible. “They are my children, not the president’s children. That’s it,” he says over the phone. This Friday he told his lawyer to file a lawsuit against the plane’s owner, Avianline Charters.
Maternal grandmother Fatima is also fighting for custody. “I am very happy because they are fine, thank God. They (Family Welfare) give me children and I take them to the Amazon,” he explains. Ranok described beating their daughter and abusing the children who disappeared into the forest unscathed: this gave them the advantage of knowing the terrain they moved through when they were alone. Not anywhere. According to Fatima, a third person of interest appeared. This is Andrés, Magdalena’s first husband and the father of her two older daughters, 13-year-old Leslie, the savior of her brothers in the jungle. “Now people who are interested are showing up. We haven’t heard from him since my daughter divorced him. Now it can be seen,” she says irritably.
It has decided to take care of them until the government takes a decision. The government has created a trust to manage the money the children can get for telling their stories, Pedro told relatives during a meeting. Producers around the world, including many from Hollywood, have made offers to acquire the rights, but right now they’re up in the air. The children have escaped the dangerous jungle and now they will face bureaucracy, lawyers and a warring family.
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