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Colombia Prosecutors Confirm Arrest of Father of 2 of the 4 Children Lost 40 Days in Amazon Jungle

BOGOTÁ (AP) — The father of two of the four Indigenous children who survived a plane crash that killed their mother and two other adults, then survived 40 days on their own in the Amazon jungle was arrested Friday, Colombian authorities said.

The Colombian Prosecutor’s Office confirmed in a message to Associated Press journalists that officials arrested Manuel Ranoque, who is the father of the 1- and 4-year-old boys in the crash and the stepfather of the two girls, ages 9 and 13.

The statement gave no details on the reason, but media reports said the case involved allegations of abuse.

Astrid Eliana Cáceres, director of the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare, said the state agency had been working with the authorities.

“We learned of the capture of the father of two Mucutuy minor children and we believe that the prosecutor’s office has operated within the full framework of the law,” she said.

Ranoque has been embroiled in a fight for custody of the children with their maternal grandparents. Their mother died four days after the crash, according to the oldest child, Lesly.

The four siblings have remained in the custody of Colombia’s child protection agency since leaving the hospital after recovering from malnutrition and other ailments.

Their maternal grandfather, Narciso Mucutuy, has accused Ranoque of beating their mother, Magdalena Mucutuy.

Before authorites confirmed his arrest, Ranoque acknowledged to reporters that there had been problems at home, but he said he considered it a private family matter and not “gossip” for the rest of the world.

When asked if he had assaulted his wife, Ranoque replied: “Verbally all of a sudden, yes. Physically, very little, because we did more fight of words.”

Source : AP NEWS