BERLIN – Berlin police on Wednesday released photos of an English-speaking teenage boy who wandered into the city nine months ago saying he had been living for the past five years in the forest with his father.
Police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf said all attempts to identify the boy since he emerged in the German capital on Sept. 5 have been unsuccessful, and they are now hoping the release of his photo may produce some leads.
"We have checked his DNA against all missing person reports, sent the data to Interpol so that they could check it internationally, but unfortunately without any success," Neuendorf said.
The boy has told authorities his father called him "Ray" and that he was born June 20, 1994, but claims not to know his last name or where he's from.
He said his mother, Doreen, died in a car accident when he was 12 and after that he and his father, Ryan, took to the forest. He said they wandered using maps and a compass, staying in tents or caves overnight.
He told authorities that after his father died in August, 2011, he buried him in the forest and then walked five days north before ending up in Berlin, and showed up at city hall.
Investigators have been unable to confirm any details about a fatal car accident that matches up with Ray's story, however, and haven't been able to find the body of the father — raising "serious doubts" about the story.
"There are many question marks," Neuendorf said.
He is now being taken care of by youth services, and is going to school. When he first appeared, Ray spoke English and a few words of German, but has picked up more German fast, Neuendorf said.
He has also quickly adapted to city life and technology, using a laptop and his cell phone with no problems.
"Everything gives the impression that he was not far away from civilization for years," Neuendorf said.
Neuendorf said that Ray does not speak English with a particular accent, leading investigators to believe that he is not a native speaker. There are no indications, however, of what his native tongue might be.
Ray is described as being somewhere between 16-20 years old and about 5-foot 11-inches tall. He has dark blonde hair and blue eyes, and three small scars on his forehead, three small scars on his chin and a small scar on his right arm.
He has a complete set of teeth and no obvious dental work, and his hands, fingernails and teeth appear "well kept."
Police in Berlin have asked anyone with information on him to contact them.