THE mystery of the “forest boy” who showed up in Berlin claiming he had lived wild in the woods for five years has been solved, after he was identified as a 20-year-old from the Netherlands.
Earlier this week, Berlin police released a photo of a man who had become known as "forest boy" in hopes that somebody would identify him.
He claimed to be a 17-year-old teenager named Ray whose mother died when he was 12. He said he lived with his father in caves or in a tent until his father's death.He told police he had forgotten his surname and original home.He wandered into Berlin and turned up at city hall.
Officers soon picked up that parts of his story did not fit, a police spokesman told The Local earlier this week: for example he was relatively clean, and his tent didn't look like he'd been using it for five years.
The 20-year-old man, according to CNN, was recognized by a female acquaintance after his picture was released Wednesday.
He has been named as 20-year-old Robin van Helsum from Hengelo, a Dutch city near the German border, recognized him in the photograph shown on television and alerted the authorities. He has since also been identified by his stepmother.
His family reported him missing on Sept. 2, 2011 – just three days before he appeared in Berlin. When'Ray' was confronted with the results of the investigation he,confirmed his real personal details and admitted that the previous story — that he had lived for years in the woods — had been invented. Dutch television quoted people who recognized him as saying that he had had "personal problems."
He spoke only English and very broken German.
German police now say he could be charged with welfare fraud, as he received accommodation and care from the Berlin youth services and was even assigned a legal guardian.