The so-called “forest boy” who turned up last year in Berlin claiming to have spent five years living rough in the German countryside has been exposed as a hoaxer, German and Dutch police say.
He claimed to be a 17-year-old teenager named Ray whose mother died when he was 12. He said he lived with his father in caves or in a tent until his father’s death.
He told police he had forgotten his surname and original home.
But residents of Hengelo, in the Netherlands, identified him from photos as a 20-year-old man, Robin, who left town just three days before showing up in Berlin in the guise of tousle-haired lost youth last September.
Police investigating the case published his photo worldwide on Tuesday. His Dutch stepmother recognised him from the photo.
“Ray has admitted that he is Robin,” a Berlin police spokeswoman told DPA yesterday.
“The story he told isn’t true.”
She added that it was possible he would be penalised for obtaining youth-welfare payments in Berlin when he had, in fact, been an adult.