A 20-year-old man who has supposedly been living in a Siberian forest for 16 years was found by local villagers, Russian authorities said Tuesday. The unnamed man lived in a hut with his parents, completely shut out from society.
Locals near the town of Belokurikha in central Russia spotted the man, who said he was born in 1993 and had lived in seclusion since 1997. Last spring, the family, which lived in a mud hut two miles outside Altai Krai for 16 years, left their son to fend for himself, Itar-Tass reports.
"I am not sure if he needs all this attention," local prosecutor Roman Fomin told Agence France-Presse. "He looked normal and healthy, he only spoke slowly, since he doesn't communicate as often as most people."
The man came out of solitude after he ventured to a nearby village asking for help, authorities said. He appeared in court later to ask for identification documents in order to seek state support, AFP reports.
"He was just afraid that he won't survive the winter without his parents," Fomin said. "But maybe they have already come back."
Authorities say the man “was born in 1993 without obstetric care near Kaytanak village” and “was not educated, he was no social skills or any idea of the world outside of the forest.”
But “forest boy” or the "Siberian Mowgli" as Russian media has dubbed him, is not the first to have come out of hiding.
A missing father and son in Vietnam were found after 40 years of living in the jungle. The pair fled to the forest after their home was bombed during the Vietnam War in 1973. They lived for years in two makeshift tree houses. Ho Van Thanh, 82, and his son, Ho Van Lang, 41, are reportedly doing well.
"I asked my brother whether he wants to go to the forest or not. He said living in the village is happier," Ho Van Tri said.