The tragedy of Charla Nash, the woman whose face was ripped off by a chimpanzee
the horrible story of Charla Nash happened in 2009, but continues to resonate in the media to this day. It is that this woman was brutally attacked by a chimpanzee that ripped off his face and hands. The consequences of this tragedy still weigh on the woman, who was left an invalid for the rest of her life and received a face transplant that caused him countless inconveniences.
The tragic event happened in Connecticut, U.S. The monkey, called Travis, was owned by a friend of the victim, Sandra Herald, who had adopted him since he was a baby.
Travis was born on October 21, 1995 in a chimpanzee sanctuary in the state of Measure. There Herold and her husband adopted him Jerome, when the animal was only three days old. The family treated him like one more member.
Travis went to the store with his “fathers”He played with them and with the neighbors, he had learned to open and close doors with a key, water the plants, use the remote control of the television, turn on the computer and, once, they had even let him drive a car.
The animal was a prodigy of intelligence. He brushed his teeth, too, and ate at the table with the family. Even on several occasions they had given him wine to drink.
What’s more, the chimpanzee had known fame by starring in several advertising shorts and in some other television program.
When Jerome died of cancer in 2004 and the couple’s son also died in a car accident, Travis he became a kind of son to Sandra. But the supposed pet was still a wild animal.
In 2003, when a passerby threw an object at the car where he was traveling Travis and hit him, the monkey got out of the vehicle and ran him for many blocks. Fortunately, the person escaped, but the animal did not want to return to the car and had to intervene police.
From that fact, the laws changed in Connecticut and it was no longer possible to have exotic animals in the house that weighed more than 22 kilos. But even though Travis already weighed 91 kilos and he was of considerable size, he remained with Mrs. Herold because he had already lived with the family for many years and they did not consider him a danger.
They were wrong.
The February 16, 2009 Charla Nash, then 55, went to visit her friend and co-worker Sandra, 70. Travis knew her, but was apparently thrown off by the visitor’s new hairstyle. But disaster struck when the woman took in her hands one of the ape’s toys.
It was then that Travis turned to Nash and he attacked her brutally, biting and scratching her unceremoniously.
At the time the attack happened, Sandra Herald She called 911 for help and said a phrase that must have sounded unbelievable to the police: “My chimpanzee is eating my friend”. The animal bit Nash’s nose, eyes, lips, eyelids and hands.
The attack lasted a dramatic 12 minutes.. Sandra tried to stop Travis. He first hit him with a shovel and then stabbed him three times with a butcher knife, but couldn’t stop it. Finally, a police officer appeared he killed the monkey with four shots.
The injuries sustained by Nash They were “horrible”, according to the doctors who treated her the day of the tragedy. The woman had to endure more than seven hours of surgery on her face and hands, performed by four teams of surgeons.
She lost her hands, nose, lips and part of the bony structure of the face. What’s more, suffered brain trauma and lost his sight. His family had to organize a campaign to be able to pay the huge hospital bill.
When analyzing the body of the killed monkey, they found that he did not have rabies, but he did have the drug Xanax, a tranquilizer that Mrs. Herold. Some of the effects of this substance are disorientation and, rarely, hallucinations, anger and aggressiveness.
Herold died of an aneurysm a year after the gruesome attack. Nash won $4 million in a lawsuit against her friend’s estate.
In one of her last interviews, Nash said that she was living in a specialized center where she was cared for: “I lost a lot of independence. I could change the tire on a truck and now I can’t even eat by myself. It is very difficult to live. Not even living, half living. Sometimes I want to cry, go out, go to your house. I don’t know what my future is and that’s what scared me,” he told the Boston Herald in 2014.
In 2016, she was hospitalized urgently for a new rejection in the transplanted face and managed to survive. Last year, Nash secured the British newspaper The Sun who advocates laws that prohibit the keeping of primates as pets.