The story of the chicken girl

Curiosities - February 1, 2020

It seems that we human beings are capable of committing serious cruelties, since as an example of this there are parents who abandon their children because they are not physically or mentally normal; such is the case of Maria Isabel Quaresma Dos Santos, a girl who was 9 years old and was found in a chicken coop located in Tábua, a small town in Portugal.

Image 1. The story of the chicken girl

Maria was locked up by her mother Idalina Quaresma, who had serious mental problems and felt that the girl was not part of the family, even though she had fathered her own child.Idalina had three more children, but they had a normal childhood, attending school and helping with farm work.

In most cases of abandonment, children who live with animals for several years adopt their sounds and customs, and the characteristic features of humans disappear completely. Maria was discovered by a religious who frequented the place,in deplorable conditions: with marked symptoms of malnutrition; she walked as if she were a hen moving her arms all the time, as if she had wings.

She did not speak either, but communicated through strange sounds that she emitted with difficulty. Her little hands were very hurt with painful calluses, because she had never walked vertically and for several years, she ate the same food that was given to the chickens, which is why she had brain damage that she did not have since birth.

A well-known radiologist admitted Maria to the hospital so that she could be analyzed and examined by the doctors to see if the damage was reversible; but to her surprise, the scientists’ solution was to return her to her parents. Years later, after long complaints and lawsuits, this young woman was admitted to a mental hospital in the city of Lisbon, where she has been confined to this day, without having any life expectancy or any treatable medical diagnosis.