German Authorities Attempt to Identify "Forest Boy"

Reply Wed 13 Jun, 2012 04:57 pm
German police seek help identifying teen who lived in woods
(By Michael Martinez, CNN, June 13, 2012)

German police have released a photograph of the 17-year-old known only as "Ray" who turned up at Berlin City Hall last year after claiming to have been living in the woods for five years.

The release of the photograph, along with details of his appearance and scant possessions at the time of his discovery, is part of an effort by German authorities to unravel the mystery of the boy's identity. who speaks English and a little German and what is his family background.

The boy only knew his name, his date of birth of June 20, 1994, and his parents' first names.

After months of investigation, German authorities said they are stumped on who the boy really is.

The boy named Ray told authorities upon his discovery last September that he had been living in the wood with his father, Ryan, but decided to come out of the wilderness after his father had died, investigators said. The boy couldn't explain why his father died, authorities said.

Investigators have been unable to find the father's body as the boy was unable to name or show the place he buried his father in the forest underneath some stones, officials said.

"They were hiking with the help of maps and a compass only and stayed in tents or caves overnight," Berlin authorities said in a statement released Tuesday.

The boy provided police with "some vague information" about his mother, saying her name was Doreen, and he wore a golden-colored necklace around his neck with the pendant "D," the first letter of his mother's name, police said.

His mother died in a car accident when the boy was 12 years old, but he doesn't remember the details of the accident, authorities said.

The boy presumes the scars on his face were caused by the accident, police said.

After his father also died last August, the boy roamed north for five days until he arrived to Berlin City Hall and asked for help last September 5, authorities said.

The teenager cannot "specify anything about cities, countries or regions him and his father had travelled through," authorities said in a statement.

German authorities have been trying to establish the boy's identity through Interpol. A guardian has been appointed, authorities said.

"The Youth Office and the Berlin Police have great doubts on the boy's story. That is the reason why the Youth Office now decided to publish a photo of 'Ray' and ask for your help," authorities said in a statement.

In releasing a photo of the boy, taken last September, authorities also provided a physical description of him: 16 to 20 years old; about 5-foot-11 or 180 centimeters; dark-blonde medium length hair; blue eyes; athletic physique; teeth, fingernails and hands all conveying a neat impression; three scars on his forehead; three small scars on his chin; one scar of 1 centimeter in length on his right arm; and a complete set of teeth with no dental work obvious.

The boy is able to read and write and spoke mainly in English with a few words in German, authorities said.

He carried a Freetime Alpes 2 tent designed for two persons; an Outwell sleeping bag; a black-like new backpack of the Finnish brand Kaikkialla; and clean clothes, partly for winter, authorities said.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 12 • Views: 3,768 • Replies: 22
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Lustig Andrei
Reply Wed 13 Jun, 2012 05:00 pm
0 Replies
Reply Wed 13 Jun, 2012 05:02 pm
I figure more to story.

Cute haircut.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 13 Jun, 2012 05:29 pm
This story has HOAX written all over it.
Reply Wed 13 Jun, 2012 08:25 pm
At least he wasn't raised by wolves.
Lustig Andrei
Reply Wed 13 Jun, 2012 08:28 pm
roger wrote:

At least he wasn't raised by wolves.

How do ve know dis?
Reply Wed 13 Jun, 2012 08:30 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Because wolves are not carrying den schlaffen sacks.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 13 Jun, 2012 10:11 pm

"Pfui, copycat!"
Reply Wed 13 Jun, 2012 11:57 pm
We had a case like this in the wilds of B.C., Canada a few years ago. Two brothers who spun a tail and ended up being runaway weirdos from California. He looks far too healthy to have been scavenging in the forest for that long. I smell a hoax.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 14 Jun, 2012 06:05 am
You just had to bring Angela Merkel into this, didn't you.

(Seriously though, it never occurred to me how much she resembles Caspar Hauser.)
Reply Thu 14 Jun, 2012 06:26 am
Kaspar Hauser who mysteriously appeared in Nurnberg Germany in 1828 claimed that he was kept in a dungeon for his entire childhood. His relatives were also unknown. Some believed he was an heir to a royal family in Baden and had been kept hidden for political reasons. He lived with three different families in Nurnberg. The families he lived with concluded that he was some type of con man.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 14 Jun, 2012 07:39 am
He really does look like he has been living a comfortable life. Nothing seems out of place with this boy. I find it unbelievable that he was living in a forest for 5 years. I also suspect its a hoax.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 14 Jun, 2012 07:57 am
I believe it's possible. It isn't unlike a story that unfolded here a few years ago: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1140240/posts

The man and girl told police they had lived in the park for four years. The pair appeared clean, well-fed and healthy, Barkley said, and the girl was well-spoken beyond her years.

The man, who identified himself as Frank, told police he was a 53-year-old Marine Corps veteran and college graduate who served in Vietnam.

He came to Oregon with his daughter, Ruth, from Tacoma with no job and virtually no money. Frank told police that the girl's mother was institutionalized in New Hampshire, and the two now lived on a $400-a-month disability check.

Rather than live on the streets and expose Ruth to alcohol and drugs, Frank said, they hiked deep into Forest Park and built a lean-to.

The pair went into the city twice a week to stop by the bank, attend church, buy groceries and clothes from Goodwill. Frank, a devout Christian, said he taught his daughter using the old encyclopedias.

They grew vegetables and used the nearby creek to keep clean. They stored perishable foods in a small pool of water at the creek's edge.

If her father had died we'd probably be looking at a similar "Forest Boy" situation.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 14 Jun, 2012 08:15 am

Separated at birth?
Reply Thu 14 Jun, 2012 08:56 am
Haha, that's funny! You can tell that the welfare of the EU sits on her shoulders.

Back to the boy
The boy is able to read and write and spoke mainly in English with a few words in German, authorities said.

This is simply a way for the Brits to dispose of their stubborn teenagers.
Reply Thu 14 Jun, 2012 09:28 am
Germany ain't big enough to hold them all.
0 Replies
Joe Nation
Reply Thu 14 Jun, 2012 09:29 am
The only thing that smells to me is that he can't find the place he buried his father.
If you live in the woods for anytime at all, you learn the woods. You orient by landmark, the lay of the land. I find it hard to believe he cannot find his way back to what for most would be a significant spot on this earth.

But, maybe he resented every minute with his father in those woods, maybe he was relieved the day the old guy died, threw a few stones over him and trekked on.

If you were not used to foraging, five days is just about right for you to know you are starving.

Joe(guten Morgen)Nation
0 Replies
Reply Thu 14 Jun, 2012 04:01 pm
From NBC News: "Investigators told NBC News that DNA evidence suggests Ray is most likely from a neighboring country, as opposed to the United States. Authorities also believe that English might not be his native language."
0 Replies
Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 06:21 am
German 'Forest boy' mystery solved: Dutchman made it up
(By Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY, June 15, 2012)

After almost a year, Berlin police have identified the mysterious "Forest Boy" as a 20-year-old young man from the Netherlands who made up the whole story of living in the woods for five years.

The young man, who had told police he only knew his first name, "Ray," has been identified as Robin Van Helsum of the Dutch city of Hengelo.

"We went to him with the new information this morning and he said: 'OK, you got me – I am Robin and I made the whole story up," Thomas Neuendorf of the Berlin police tells the British newspaper The Telegraph.

The young man had turned up at Berlin City Hall last September, claiming to be 18-years-old who had been living in the woods with his father for five years until he died.

"Ray" spoke English and some German, but offered scant information about his life. He had with him a tent and a backpack.

Berlin police said they had grave doubts about this story, but could not solve the mystery until they released his photo this week to the media.

Relatives in the Netherlands quickly identified him as Robin Van Helsum, from the Dutch city of Hengelo, police there confirmed to the Germany daily Die Welt, according to Der Spiegel Online

"We are 100 per cent certain that we are dealing with the 20-year-old boy, who his stepmother unambiguously identified," a Hengelo police spokeswoman told the German newspaper. "We are very happy that he's been found."

In Berlin, however, police were not quite so thrilled. "It's no longer a joke," police spokesman Michael Maass tells Die Welt. If the story is made up, he says, "then he deliberately took us for fools, and he could be liable for the costs."

The Germany news agency DPA says Van Helsum was last seen in Hengelo on Sept. 2, 2011, just before leaving for Berlin with a friend. That was only days before he surfaced in the German capital as "Forest Boy."

"I am certain that is Robin," a school friend tells Dutch broadcaster NOS. "He had personal problems and that was his way of beginning a new life."

Neuendorf, of the Berlin police, tells The Telegraph that Van Helsum has spoken to his stepmother by phone "but he doesn't want to return home."
0 Replies
Reply Fri 15 Jun, 2012 06:29 am
The Berlin police had spent nine months trying to break his story. I myself became suspicious when the forest boy said that his late mother was "Doreen" and could only provide one photo of her:


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