Friday 23 February 2018

Mystery forest boy: English speaking teenager found in Berlin may be Czech

Rosa Silverman

A teenager who said he had been living in the woods for five years could have walked to Berlin from the Czech Republic.

The 17-year-old, called Ray, turned up in the German capital claiming he did not remember where his family came from and had followed his compass north to reach the city.

His identity and nationality remain unknown and Berlin police said today that although he speaks English "very well", he may not be a native English speaker.

Berlin detectives said they had contacted all police departments in Europe and as far afield as the US.

A spokesman said: "He only said that he walked for a few days north. It may be possible that he did not walk exactly north, and the position of Berlin is right on the east side of Germany so it's possible to come from the Czech Republic because it's not far away."

But he said police had received no new information to confirm this.

The journey from the Czech border to Berlin is about 150 miles.

Patricia Bremer, from Berlin's Criminal Investigations Department, said the boy was being looked after in an apartment in the city with other young people.

"He's OK," she said. "He has a teacher and a 'mother' or 'father' from the Government. He's living like a young man."

Officers have sent the boy's fingerprints and photograph via Interpol to foreign police forces in an attempt to identify him, the police spokesman said.

The teenager, dubbed "forest boy", appeared at Berlin's city hall on September 5, saying that his father had died two weeks earlier and he had buried him in the woods.

He was taken in by the youth welfare office and police hope a legal guardian will be assigned to him by next week.

He has been described as "very kindly" and reportedly enjoys spending time with other teenagers.

The Foreign Office said they still did not know his nationality and whether he was British.

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