Police in south central Vietnam on Monday collected the DNA of the baby and the father of a girl for testing after she claimed that her father had raped her many times and fathered her daughter.
Dang Luu Tam Anh, 24, and her two year old baby were rescued Sunday by local reporters, after living eight years in the jungle on her own as forced to do by her 62-year-old father.
"Anh's daughter suffers severe malnutrition. She's more than one year old but only weighs six kilograms. And she's very shy, afraid of everyone except her mother," said a doctor at the Dong Xuan District General Hospital where Anh and the baby have been sent to have their heath checked, according to a Tuesday report by news website VnExpress.
Anh said she was sent to live in the jungle by her father eight years ago, when she was 17.
Reporters for the Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper found the woman living in a makeshift house of four square meters.
Anh went out every morning grazing a herd of 20 cows for her family, leaving the baby tightly wrapped in the net and blankets on the bed so that the baby would not fall on the rocky ground. She only came back at dusk.
The girl said she started working with cows since little and has never attended school.
At age 17, her father sent her to the makeshift house in the mountain, several kilometers from the family's house and forced her to stay there to take care of the cows.
A year later, an old single man proposed to marry her but her father did not allow it.
Soon after, he raped her for the first time, Anh told the reporters.
"Every time there was a stranger around, he would beat me later. He threatened to kill me if I told anyone about what he did.
"Recently, he kept telling me to leave the baby to die."
For over eight years, Anh said, her daily meals have consisted of rice with salt and fish sauce provided by her parents every several months. Sometimes the rice ran out and she had to rely on fruits she found in the jungle.
Anh said she has been too scared to tell the police and did not know where to go anyway.
She said her mother helped her deliver the baby, and that the older woman had not told anyone about it because she was scared of being beaten.
According to neighbors, Hai frequently beat his wife and children, and that the beatings had caused mental problems to Anh's eldest sister, who has been missing for many years.
Another older sister of Anh's fled to Ho Chi Minh City several years ago and never came back, they said.
The parents, Dang Ngoc Hai and Luu Thi Ngoc Dung, have so far denied all the accusations.
"Hai had denied using violence against Anh, as well as raping her," said Le Van Dinh, police chief of Dong Xuan District.
Dinh said if the accusations are proved right, Hai would be convicted of at least two "serious" charges rape and incest. The first charge can send him to jail for between seven to 15 years as it was repeated many times. The latter charge carries terms of between six months and five years in jail, under the Vietnam Penal Code.
Huynh Viet Hung, a district social worker, said he once asked Hai to bring the baby down from the mountain to give her better care but the latter had refused to do so.
The district police have arranged for Anh and the baby to live at the station for now.
They have sent a team to her dwelling and summoned her father for interrogation.
Vo Cao Phi, the district chairman, said, "In the long term, Anh will be given land and some opportunities to a stable job."
The province women's association is paying attention to the case, and planning to provide material support.
Dang Thi Hong Nga, deputy chairwoman of the association, said she will persuade women across the province to help the mother and child, and seek legal protection for them.
"The story is beyond my imagination, too painful," Nga said.
A lawyer has been appointed to support Anh in the case.
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