BERLIN - The forest boy mystery is solved: It’s not true.
Berlin police said Friday that an English-speaking teenage boy called Ray who wandered into the city nine months ago saying he had been living in the forest for the last five years has been spinning a yarn.
After publishing his picture earlier this week, police said a former girlfriend identified him as a 20-year-old from the Netherlands reported missing in September. Neither Dutch nor Berlin police would identify him due to privacy laws, but Netherlands state broadcaster NOS interviewed friends and said his name was Robin van Helsum. A German security official with knowledge of the case, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the name. Dutch police spokeswoman Chantal Westerhoff said he was “a 20-year-old man from Hengelo’’ - near the German border.
When confronted with the facts, police say van Helsum admitted the truth.
“The young man known as ‘Ray’ was confronted with the results of the investigation,’’ police said in a statement. “He then confirmed his real personal details and admitted that the previous story - that he had lived for years in the woods - had been invented.’’
Berlin police said there was no active investigation into his disappearance because there was no evidence of foul play and he was an adult.