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Germany’s “Forest Boy” Admits Faking Story

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June 15, 2012: A mysterious "forest boy" who turned up in Berlin last year claiming to have lived in the woods for years is in fact a young Dutch man who left home without a word nine months ago, police said. (AFP)

Wannabe feral child ‘Ray’ who was discovered in Berlin last September has admitted to faking the story that he lived in the woods.

The boy who has been making international headlines this week has been identified as 20-year-old Robin van Helsum from Hangela, a city northwest of the Netherlands. His family reported him missing in September after he left a farewell note and ran away.

School friends recognized his photo that was released earlier this week and told Dutch police who he is. His stepmother was contacted and confirmed his identity.

“We confronted him and told him ‘You are not Ray, but Robin from the Netherlands.’ He immediately replied ‘Yes, that’s true,’” Berlin police spokesman Klaus Schubert said.

Van Helsum initially told Berlin police that he was living a nomadic lifestyle in the woods for five years with his father after his mother died. He told authorities that he was 17 and did not know his last name.

Robin claimed to have lived in the woods with his father using a map and compass, and sleeping in holes and tents. He said his father passed away last August and he buried him in a forest, although police never found a body. Robin’s stepmother confirmed that his father did pass away earlier this year.

He was listed as missing since Sept. 2, three days before “Ray” was in Berlin, according to the Associated Press. Reports said that he was in the care of child protective services and had been using his cellphone and computer.

Van Helsum is now under investigation for fraud. “Since he lived here for nine months and was also fed, based on false grounds, we obviously need to consider charging him with fraud,” Schubert said.

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