Berlin 'forest boy' photo released by police
Berlin Police have released the first photograph of the mysterious "forest boy" who turned to authorities nine months ago with claims he had been living wild in the woods for five years and had did not know who he was.
"We really have no idea of his true identity and hope that releasing this photo will help solve the mystery of the boy known only as Ray," Micheal Gassen of the Berlin Police force told The Daily Telegraph.
"Who knows the person shown in this picture? Who can give any information about his identity? Who can give any information about the person's possible relatives?" read an appeal released with the photograph on Tuesday.
Despite thorough investigations police have been unable to identify the boy, who turned up in Berlin Town hall last September speaking English with a slight accent and only a few words of German.
The boy has unwaveringly stuck to his original story claiming that he had been living in the forest with his father for around five years after his mother died in a car crash.
He said he knew only that his father was called Ryan, and his mother Doreen but had no idea where his family originally came from.
Ray told police he had walked north for five days to reach Berlin after his father died in a fall and he buried him "in a hole in the forest underneath some stones".
Police sought help from Interpol to help identify the teenager and received dozens of letters from across the world from people believing he may have been a lost relative, but all were discounted.
Despite exhaustive investigations that included DNA analysis and linguistic studies police said they were no closer to finding the truth and "had great doubts about his story".
"We have conducted all the investigations we know how," Thomas Neuendorf of Berlin Police told local media.
"We have compared his DNA with international missing persons lists, we've made public appeals, we've sent his fingerprints around the world to see if he was involved in anything picked up by authorities anywhere but have come up with nothing."
At first police released a photofit of the boy in the hope that someone would recognise him but they were unable to do more without his consent.
"He has only now – after intense discussions – finally given us permission to release a photograph of him and we are appealing for information about who he is," the police spokesman said.
The boy said he thought his birth date was 20 June 1994, which would mean he turns 18 years old next week. He is being cared for by social services at a youth housing project and is attending a school in Berlin.
"At some point he will have to be given a family name, a nationality and an official date of birth – that is the law in this country," said Mr Neuendorf.
Police have consistently voiced scepticism of his account. "There is something strange about this whole story," Mr Neuendorf said.
"Whenever we want to go into details with him, he breaks it off, saying both of his parents are dead, and that no one else knows him. He seems to have an astounding lack of interest in finding out who he is."