Identity of forest boy still a mystery

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The Independent Online

The identity of a teenager who emerged in Berlin saying he had been living in the woods for five years remained unknown today as police continued their bid to find out who he is.

The 17-year-old, called Ray, appeared at the German capital's city hall on September 5, claiming that his father had died two weeks earlier and he had buried him in the woods.



The boy, who speaks fluent English and a few words in German, said he did not remember where his family came from, and had followed his compass north to reach the city.



He was taken in by a youth emergency centre as police launched a probe to find out who he is.



On Friday, police chiefs said they had approached Interpol, the world's largest police organisation, to find out if Ray matched any missing person reports.



But today a spokesman said they had no update and are still working to find out who he is.



Klaus Schubert said: "We are trying to get information from other countries. We have contacted police departments in other countries to tell us if they have cases of missing young men so we can compare the dates.



"At the moment this is what we are waiting for. But we have no new update, it is the same as it was on Friday."



On Friday, Claudia Elitok, of Berlin Police, said: "He speaks fluent English and a few words in German.



"He explained that the last five years were spent in the woods with his father, then his father died and he buried him. He was walking for two weeks before getting to Berlin.



"He has said what happened to his mother but I can't go into that information."



Mr Schubert said today that Ray is being looked after by staff from the Youth Welfare Office, adding: "He is OK, his constitution is good, but there is no change since last week."



He said detectives are hoping to get more information from him about who he is and where he has been.



"He said he was living in the woods but there are a lot of woods. He said he buried his father but he cannot describe where it was," he said.



"He said it was a few days south of Berlin - it could be anywhere. It is very difficult to find this sort of place.



"We will try again and again to find more information but we have to be careful. It may be that he has a trauma or something awful that happened to him so we must be careful."



A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said they were aware of the reports and were looking into them, but are also waiting to find out if the boy is a British citizen.



Ray's story is reminiscent of that of the Piano Man, German Andreas Grassl, who was found wandering the streets of Sheerness, Kent, in 2005.



Despite Europe-wide appeals, no-one knew who the 20-year-old was.



For months he remained uncommunicative except for showing his accomplished pianist skills.

PA

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