Mystery of boy who claims to have spent five years in forest
DETECTIVES in Germany are trying to identify an English-speaking teenager who claims to have been living wild in a forest for the past five years.
The 17-year-old, who turned up at Berlin's city hall, said he had been walking for two weeks but had no idea who he was.
He told officers that he and his father had moved to the forest about five years ago after the death of his mother and had lived off the land since then, sleeping in a tent and huts.
The boy said his father had died recently and that he had buried him in a shallow grave.
Detectives said the boy, who gave his name as Ray, spoke a little German, but his first language seemed to be English.
He was able to tell officers his name and date of birth, but claimed not to remember either of his parents' names or anything of his life before he entered the forest.
The German police have issued a Europe-wide appeal in the hope that someone comes forward to identify the boy.
Klaus Schubert, a spokesman for the Berlin police, said: "He can speak English very well, fluently in fact, but he only speaks basic German.
"It might be possible that he comes from Britain because he's speaking English fluently.
"We only know what he told us; that he is 17 and lived in the forest, that he lived together with his father in the forest for the last five years, but he doesn't know where."
Psychologists are gently asking questions of the teenager in the hope of extracting more information that will offer a clue as to his origin.
Police have so far been unable to establish which forest the boy claims to have been living in, but it is thought that he arrived in Berlin from the west.
He arrived in the capital on September 5. So far, his description has not matched any missing-persons report and police are searching their records for cases dating back as far as the late-1990s.
If no one comes forward to identify the teenager, Interpol could issue a so-called 'Yellow Notice', which is used to help locate missing persons, often youths, and to publicise the cases of people who cannot remember who they are.
Detectives are understood to be trying to find the body of the boy's father, but the teenager has been unable to give them any indication where he is buried.
The case has echoes of that of the so-called 'Piano Man', when, in 2005, a German man was found wandering the streets of Sheerness, Kent, in England, apparently without any knowledge of who he was or how he got there. (© Daily Telegraph, London)