'Forest Boy' story is a hoax, German police say

(CNN) - The tale of the so-called Forest Boy is a lie, police in Germany said on Friday.

A young male who claimed he lived in the German woods for five years is actually a 20-year-old man from Hengelo, Netherlands, who never lived in the forest and made his way to Berlin sometime last year.

A spokeswoman for Berlin's police says the man will have to leave a Berlin city youth home since he is not under age, as he had claimed.

Police say it only took two days after the first pictures of the man were published for an acquaintance to recognize him and inform the Dutch police, who then notified authorities in Berlin.

The hoax ended after German police released a photograph of who they said was a 17-year-old known only as "Ray" who turned up at Berlin City Hall last year after claiming to have been living in the woods for five years.

The release of the photograph, along with details of his appearance and scant possessions at the time of his discovery, was part of an effort by German authorities to unravel the mysterious identity and family background of a young man who spoke English and a little German.

According to authorities, he claimed to know only his name, his date of birth of June 20, 1994, and his parents' first names.

After months of investigation, German authorities said they were stumped.

He told authorities upon his discovery last September that he had been living in the woods with his father, Ryan, but decided to leave after his father died, investigators said. He couldn't explain why his father died.

Ray was unable to name or show the place he buried his father in the forest underneath stones, officials said, so investigators couldn't find the body.

"They were hiking with the help of maps and a compass only and stayed in tents or caves overnight," Berlin authorities said in a statement released Tuesday.

Ray provided police with "some vague information" about his mother, saying her name was Doreen, and he wore a gold-colored necklace around his neck that held a pendant with the letter "D," police said.

He claimed that his mother had died in a car accident when he was 12 years old, but he didn't remember the details of the accident, authorities said. He said he presumed the scars on his face were caused by the accident.

After his father died last August, he said, he roamed north for five days until he arrived at Berlin City Hall and asked for help last September 5, authorities said.

He couldn't "specify anything about cities, countries or regions him and his father had traveled through," they said in a statement.

German authorities had been trying to establish the male's identity through Interpol, and a guardian was appointed, authorities said.

"The Youth Office and the Berlin Police have great doubts on the boy's story. That is the reason why the Youth Office now decided to publish a photo of 'Ray' and ask for your help," authorities had said in a statement.

The story was compared to that of the "Piano Man," who was found wandering near a beach on the isle of Sheppey, Kent, in southern England in 2005. He was wearing a waterlogged dinner suit with all its labels cut out and a tie. It initially was reported that he stunned witnesses with a "virtuoso performance" on the piano.

The man was identified as a 20-year-old German national from Bavaria after telling staff at a hospital that he had been attempting suicide when found by police, the Times of London reported in August 2005. The man could not play the piano as well as initially reported, the newspaper said.

The man, whom authorities did not identify because of confidentiality laws, flew back home to Germany, the Times said.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

Read More

Ashley Taylor Wright threw her baby at a deputy at Pensacola Dillards, Okaloosa County police say Ashley Taylor Wright threw her baby at a deputy at Pensacola Dillards, Okaloosa County police say

A Pensacola woman, Ashley Taylor Wright, has been arrested after authorities say they tried arrest her for shoplifting and she threw the baby at a deputy as she tried to escape.

Stephen Amaral robbed while naked swimming woman distracts him Stephen Amaral robbed while naked swimming woman distracts him

A Tennessee man found this out the hard way when a woman dipped in his pool, naked, as her husband robbed his home.

Giant purple chicken stolen in Putnam County, three men charged with grand theft Giant purple chicken stolen in Putnam County, three men charged with grand theft

Putnam County investigators say it was "fowl" play when three young men stole a giant chicken.

Invisible man in Fort Pierce prefers his stolen cigarettes mentholated Invisible man in Fort Pierce prefers his stolen cigarettes mentholated

A man in Fort Pierce said he used his "powers of invisibility" to abscond with a carton of menthol cigarettes, but his conscience appears to have gotten the best of him.

David John Sirko: Suspected burglar left love notes, photos of underwear on head, deputies say David John Sirko: Suspected burglar left love notes, photos of underwear on head, deputies say

A Golden Gate Estates, Florida man was arrested Monday after Collier County sheriff's deputies say he broke into a woman's house, left her love notes and took photos of himself with her underwear on his head.

Randy Zipperer mac and cheese dispute: Florida man accused of stabbing brother after food disapears Randy Zipperer mac and cheese dispute: Florida man accused of stabbing brother after food disapears

Authorities say two Florida brothers got into a tussle over missing macaroni and cheese that ended with one stabbing the other in the stomach.

Walmart wedding: Wayne and Susan Brandenburg get married at Shallotte, North Carolina store Walmart wedding: Wayne and Susan Brandenburg get married at Shallotte, North Carolina store

For years, Wayne Brandenburg shopped at his local Wal-Mart three or four times a week. He never thought he'd pick up a wife, or marry her, there. But that's exactly what happened.

Man jumps on manatees video: YouTube, Facebook video posting investigated by wildlife officials Man jumps on manatees video: YouTube, Facebook video posting investigated by wildlife officials

Video of a man jumping on two manatees prompts legal investigation.

Filomena Tobias flips off Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls player, paper reports Filomena Tobias flips off Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls player, paper reports

The woman has been identified as Filomena Tobias, widow of CNBC commentator Seth Tobias, of Jupiter.

Etta Lopez accused of slapping deputy to help her quit smoking; charged with assualting an officer Etta Lopez accused of slapping deputy to help her quit smoking; charged with assualting an officer

California woman slaps sheriff's deputy to quit smoking