BERLIN - On September 5, 2011, a young man speaking English checked in with Berlin authorities saying that his name was “Ray” and that his date of birth was June 20, 1994, which made him 17 – a minor. These two things, the boy claimed, constituted the only information about himself that he remembered aside from the fact that he’d spent the past five years in an unknown forest location with his father “Ryan,” who had died and whom he had buried under some rocks in the forest. His mother “Doreen” had died earlier in a car crash.
German media leapt on the tale, dubbing Ray the “Forest Boy.”
Meanwhile, on September 2, 2011, a missing person alert had been issued in the Netherlands for a 20-year-old Dutch man named Robin van H. from Hengelo. This was the day Robin van H. disappeared in the company of a friend who returned a few days later after their money ran out, saying they had gone to Berlin. Robin van H. sent a letter with no return address to his parents saying that he had decided to stay in Berlin, and for Dutch police the matter was resolved: at 20, Robin van H. was an adult and could live wherever he chose.
After successfully leading Berlin police around for nine months by posing as “Ray,” it has now been established that his real identity is Robin van H. Missing minors enjoy special protection, and “Ray” had declined to cooperate with authorities, refusing to be examined by psychologists, to hold a press conference or have pictures of himself released. Finally, Berlin authorities were able to send out a picture of him last week, which is when his real identity was bound to become quickly apparent.