The mystery of the so-called Forest Boy, who walked out of the woods near the Berlin city limits nine months ago claiming he had been living in the forest for five years with his father, has been solved and boy identified. Authorities in Berlin have confirmed that the boy, who told police his name was Ray, made the entire story up.
On Friday, Berlin police said they confirmed that boy, whose real name is Robin van Helsum, had fabricated a story that he had been living in the woods for five years with his father.
Thomas Neuendorf of the Berlin Police Department said authorities have attempted to identify the boy since he arrived in the capital city on Sept. 5. They had been unsuccessful in discovering the mystery surrounding van Helsum and chose to release a photo of the boy on Tuesday hoping it will produce leads to his identity, the Associated Press reported.
Despite extensive studies, the Youth Office and the Berlin police have not successfully identified the boy who calls himself Ray, police said in a statement issued Tuesday, the Globe and Mail reported.
But after publishing the picture, police said a former girlfriend of the Forest Boy identified him as a 20-year-old from the Netherlands. He was reported missing from his hometown last September. Family members were able to confirm his identity. Both the Dutch and the Berlin police department refused to identify the boy due to privacy laws. However, journalists from the Netherlands discovered his identity as Robin van Helsum, the AP reported.
We are 100 percent certain that he is this 20-year-old boy, because his stepmother positively identified him, a police spokeswoman told Die Welt newspaper, according to MSNBC. We have made contact with his family and friends, she said. A photo where you could see him with a chain round his neck showing his name provided the proof. We are very glad that we have found out who he is.
Van Helsum originally informed police that his father called him Ray and claimed he was living in the woods for the past five years. He told authorities that his father's name was Ryan and his mother, Doreen. They had died. Van Helsum said that his mother died in a car accident when he was 12 and his father died while out in the woods. However, he was unable to lead them to the body, the Globe and Mail reported.
He was neither able to name nor show the place he had buried his father, the police said.
Ray was also reportedly unable or unwilling to give his family or any other biographical information that could to his identity, according to MSNBC.
There are many question marks, Neuendorf said, according to MSNBC.
Police said that after they discussed the situation with the boy, he admitted he made up the whole story.
Van Helsum was reportedly living in a youth home run by the government.
He received funds from us for seven months that could have gone to other people in need, Ed Koch, a spokesman for the youth services office of Berlin's Tempelhof-Schoeneberg district, CNN reported.
Koch said he informed the boy that he had to live, but he would not be kicked out immediately.
It turns out that the young man presented a Pinocchio story, Berlin police spokesman Michael Maass told NBC News. We now know that the young man turned 20 in April and was reported missing in the Netherlands by his family last September.
However, he has said why he made up the story.
He hasn't said why he made up the story or where he came up with the details. But we always had our doubts and now, finally it's over for us, said Neuendorf, according to the Telegraph.
Police are determing whether he can be held legally responsible for his actions. However, if they take him to trial, he could face charges of fraud, said Neuendorf.
He has been looked after by German authorities since September. He received money, clothes, housing and education and all because he told us lies. There may well be a case of fraud.