The Colombian, who was rescued at sea by fishermen, has a history of mental health problems that may have contributed to the strange saga in which she was offline for two years, her family said.
Paula Castiblanco said she believed her mother, Angelica Gaitan, was suffering from a psychological trauma that played a role in getting lost at sea more than a mile off the coast of Puerto Colombia, the Colombian store El Heraldo said.
“We think that during this period of time in which she disappeared, something could have happened to her that caused her psychological trauma,” her daughter told the mall.
She added that her mother had long dealt with panic attacks, which were often triggered by the sight of high-end cars.
“Every time she saw a high-end car, she would shout and say they were coming for her [and] that we should not allow her to get on these cars. She covered her head and said that a man would come for her, “said Castiblanco.
A viral video made by her rescuers shows Gaitan swimming in the sea before the two men pull her out of the water.
She was taken to hospital to be treated for hypothermia and exhaustion, as she had apparently been on leave for eight hours, according to reports.
She later told local media that she had been unaccounted for by her family for two years after fleeing domestic violence, the Mirror reported.
Describing how she ended up at sea, Gaitan said, “I didn̵
Her daughter Castiblanco said she lost touch with her mother after the woman left for Ecuador in September 2018 with her brother, the outlet said.
The family received a report of her whereabouts only in March, when her father was informed by health insurance that her mother had made an appointment with a psychologist, El Heraldo reported.
“We later found out that she was in Barranquilla, a homeless shelter, but we can’t say how she got to this city,” Castiblanco said.
Since then, Gaitan has reunited with some of his family members, and police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding her disappearance and rescue, the outlet said.