'Forest boy' made up story, German police say

Posted at 06/16/12 4:32 AM

BERLIN - A young English-speaking male who showed up in Berlin last year saying he had lived in woods for five years with his father and knew only his first name and age has now acknowledged making up the story, German officials said on Friday.

The case made international headlines and the young male was dubbed "forest boy" when police first released his story.

"When we first saw him he told us he was called Ray and he was 17, but now we know his real name is Robin, that he is 20 and comes from the Dutch city of Hengelo", a police spokeswoman said, without giving any further details about the young male.

"We have never believed his story. He definitely didn't look like a person who had just spent five years in the forest," said the spokeswoman.

The young male turned up at Berlin's town hall on Sept. 5 last year asking for help and telling staff he had wandered through woods with his father using maps and a compass.

He said his father had died and that he had buried him under a heap of stones. His mother had died in a car accident when he was 12, he said.

German authorities tried to find out who he was with DNA tests and by asking the international police agency Interpol if his identity matched that of any known missing person.

On Tuesday, they released a picture of "forest boy" that was published by foreign media.

"On Wednesday, Dutch police told us several people had recognised him there," said the spokeswoman.