THE HAGUE: A boy who turned to German officials nine months ago saying he had lived in the woods for years and didn’t know his identity is Dutch, the ANP news agency said today, quoting police sources.
The teenager at the centre of a tale that last year captured the world’s imagination is a 20-year-old from the northwestern town of Hengelo in the Netherlands, the report said.
He was identified after a Dutch woman called the authorities saying she had recognised the smiling teenager in photos that German police released to news outlets on Tuesday, asking for help in solving the case.
The Dutch police contacted their German colleagues and his identity was confirmed, ANP said.
Officials have not released his name and it was not immediately clear why he had left the Netherlands and how he ended up in Berlin, although people who had recognised him told Dutch television that he had had “personal problems.”
On Tuesday police in the German capital sent a picture of a smiling blond teenager wearing a t-shirt and a gold necklace to news outlets asking for help in getting to the bottom of the mysterious story that began last year.
On Sept 5, 2011 a teenager showed up at Berlin city hall. Speaking English and just a few words of German, he gave his name only as “Ray” and his date of birth as June 20, 1994.
The boy was unable, or refused, to give his family name, birthplace or any other biographical information but said he had spent the last five years living in a forest with his father until he died suddenly in August.
Ray told police he had buried his father “in a hole in the forest underneath some stones” but, after “walking north for five days” to Berlin, could not explain how he had died or where authorities could find his body.
“A corresponding dead body has still not been found,” police said in their statement on Tuesday.
Ray said his mother “Doreen” had died in a car accident, which he also did not remember, when he was 12 and that he assumed scars on his face were incurred in the crash.
After a brief stint with Berlin’s emergency youth services, Ray was placed in an institution for assisted living and assigned a legal guardian.
Youth services and police had “great doubts” about the story he told and decided to publicise his picture asking for any information that could help them solve the case.