After German police released a photo of the so-called “Forest Boy” this week to help find out his identity, a Dutch women has come forward to help solve the mystery and expose the 9-month long hoax.
The once thought to be teen, only known as Ray had walked into a city of Berlin police station 9 months ago, carrying only a backpack and tent claiming to have just walked 5 days out of the forest where he had been living with his father for several years, and could not remember anything of his identity other then his first name, claiming to be 17 and didn’t know where he came from.
Somehow after lengthy investigations which included, comparing his DNA with international missing persons lists, making public appeals, and sending his fingerprints around the world, nothing ever turned up.
Claiming he had moved into the woods 5 years prior with his father after his mother died in a car accident, he made his way out of the forest after his father died and he buried him in the woods somewhere, but could not remember the location. Berlin police said he never wanted to aid them in finding out who he was, stating “Who am I going to appeal too? My whole family is dead.”
The police recently took a picture of Ray and circulated it around the international media to see if anyone recognized him, which someone did.
On Friday, the authorities announced that a woman from the Netherlands called them to say the 20-year-old man was her stepson that went missing last year when he was 19. But because he was considered an adult, Dutch authorities did not investigate the case citing he could move were he pleased and it was already assumed he had made his way to Germany last September.
German police then were able to confirm with Dutch authorities that his real name was Robin van Helsum, and never lived in the woods, but rather was from the town of Hengelo, near the German border.
“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.”
Helsum had been placed in the custody of a youth services home for the last several months receiving money and care from them since it was thought he was a minor. German authorities don’t plan on charging him with any crimes but a spokesman, Ed Koch, for the youth services office of Berlin’s Tempelhof-Schoeneberg district, says they may look into legal action against him.
“He received funds from us for seven months that could have gone to other people in need,” Koch said.
Despite this, the youth home is in no rush to kick Helsum out.
“He will get some time to prepare. We might also just put him on a train to the Netherlands. We are not sure yet,” Koch said.