In a bizarre story that recalls European folk tales of a feral or wolf child brought up in the forest, an English-speaking boy emerged from the woods near Berlin last week with no idea who he was or where he came from.
The story has enthralled German media, and local authorities are racing to figure out the teen's true identity.
The teen, who calls himself Ray, is believed to be between the ages of 16 and 18. He claims to have lived in the woods with his father, who he calls Ryan, for five years.
According to the teen, the pair left civilization when his mother (who he calls Doreen) died in a car accident. They never set up a home, but instead moved through the woods, sleeping in a tent and earthen huts they found in the forest.
It is unclear what they ate or how they survived the often harsh German winters.
Ray told police that two weeks ago, his father fell to his death in the woods. The boy then buried him in a shallow grave that he covered in stones and used a compass to walk north for two weeks, as his father had instructed him to do.
The teen walked to the outskirts of Berlin until he found a youth center on Sept. 5.
He has no identity card, no papers, no passport, nothing, police spokeswoman Miriam Tauchmann told msnbc.com. He looked very good - not like a wild man or anything like that. Physically and mentally, everything is OK with him.
Though the boy appeared a bit disheveled, he was examined and was physically healthy with no evidence to suggest any signs of abuse or violence. Thus far, specialists have been unable to help him remember his life before the woods.
German authorities launched a Europe-wide appeal for any information about the boy's identity.
We have sent appeals for help to all European countries via Interpol. The boy speaks English and a little German but we really have no idea where he comes from, Michael Maaß, spokesman for the Berlin police, told German newspaper The Local on Friday.
We have never seen anything like it. We have no evidence to contradict what he has told our colleagues at the youth services, although we are still investigating, and very much want to find out who he is, Maaß added.
Whether the boy's accent was American, British, or that of some other English-speaking nationality, German authorities were unsure. He spoke only broken German, and English appeared to be his native language.
British diplomats were liaising with police in Berlin in a bit to identify the teenager.
A spokesman for the British Foreign Office said consular staff was assisting officials in Berlin, but it was not yet known if the youth was a British national.
Youth Services is caring for the teen while police investigate the boy's identity and search for any family members.
At this stage, no photos of the boy have been released.