Four siblings aged one to 13 were found alive in the Amazon jungle last week, 40 days after surviving a Cessna 206 plane crash.

People worldwide are hailing the children’s story as a miracle from Mother Nature. Authorities explained the siblings survived on seeds, fruits, and plants. They knew what to eat from growing up in the Amazon as part of the Huitoto indigenous group.

Other reports cite how their grandmother, Maria Fatima Valencia, taught them survival skills like hunting and fishing.

As Luis Acosta of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia put it, “The survival of the children is a sign of the knowledge and relationship with the natural environment that is taught starting in the mother’s womb.”

While the miracle has captured hearts around the world, the children’s future is now in question. Since their mother tragically passed away in the plane crash, the siblings’ relatives have fought for their custody.

The children’s maternal grandfather is fighting for custody of all four children

The children’s maternal grandfather, Narciso Mucutuy, accused the father of the youngest two children, Manuel Ranoque, of domestic abuse.

Ranoque is the stepfather of Lesly Jacombaire Mucutuy, 13 and Soleiny Jacombaire Mucutuy, 9. He is the biological father of Tien Noriel Ronoque Mucutuy, 4, and Cristin Neriman Ranoque Mucutuy, 1.

Mucutuy reportedly said at the Hospital Militar in Bogotá, “One day, [Ranoque] hit my daughter in the neck with a machete.”

The grandfather said that while Ranoque physically abused his daughter, Magdalena Mucuty, the children would go out and hide. Where would they go? To the middle of the forest in the Predio Putumayo community in Puerto Sábalo.

While the grandfather cited Ranoque’s “abuse,” he also spoke about Lesly’s “hate” towards her step-father.

“[Lesly] is a shy girl because her step-father gave a bad life to my daughter,” Mucutuy told Caracol Radio. “So the girl is always in fear, doesn’t relate to people.”

“She doesn’t want to know anything about [her step-father],” he described. “She doesn’t want to know anything…Not for him to talk to her, she doesn’t want to know anything about him because she has a lot of hate towards him.”

While the grandfather fights for Colombia’s Institute of Family Welfare to give him and his wife custody of all four children, the miracle of their survival isn’t lost on him.

Mucutuy explained to BluRadio Colombia, “I also thank the indigenous people who collaborated to talk to Mother Nature.”

“All night we conversed chewing coca and eating ambil, which is our culture, our religion, with Mother Nature.”

Still, the two youngest children’s father denies Mucutuy’s claims

In an interview with The Guardian, Ranoque talked about speaking to Lesly, calling the situation a “miracle of God.”

“The first thing I did was talk to the 13-year-old girl,” he said. “The only thing she clarified was that her mother was alive for four days.”

Ranoque continued, “Before dying, her mother told them something like, ‘Get out of here, you guys are going to see who your dad is, who knows what a dad’s love is like the one he shows you guys.'”

He also called their survival a “miracle of God,” saying, “As an indigenous belief, for us, this is a test from God to see how much faith I have in him.”

About the abuse allegations, Ranoque reportedly admitted there had been fights at home, but did not delve too much into it. He said their family life wasn’t “gossip for the world.”

Speaking about their arguments, the father explained, “Verbally, sometimes, yes. Physically, very little. We had more verbal fights.”

Notably, Ranoque also told the press he was threatened by the Carolina Ramírez Front, a guerrilla group made up of ex-FARC members. Still, he explained, “I need to make sure that my life and that of my children is safe.”

Head of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, Astrid Cáceres, said they assigned a caseworker to determine custody of the children.

“We are going to talk, investigate, learn a little about the situation,” she said.

Cáceres also explained that they are still looking into the possibility of domestic abuse at the hands of Ranoque.

“The most important thing at this moment is the children’s health, which is not only physical but also emotional, the way we accompany them emotionally.”