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Mystery of Germany’s ‘Forest Boy’ Has Been Solved

Forest Boy
Police Handout

The mysterious “Forest Boy” who showed up in the German capital of Berlin nine months ago and spun a tale of living in the woods for the last five years has been exposed as a 20-year-old Dutchman.

“Ray,” who had told authorities he was 17, was identified by his stepmother as Robin van Helsum after German police released a photo of him on Tuesday.

“We’re 100% sure that we’re dealing with this 20-year-old boy, because his stepmother positively identified him,” explained a police spokeswoman. When confronted with his stepmom’s ID, van Heslum reportedly confessed to the hoax.

Van Heslum had initially claimed that he began living with his father in the woods outside Berlin after his mother died in a car crash, and that he had little memory of his life before that. Then his dad died, so he was forced to come into the city.

While his tale garnered international attention, German authorities doubted it from the beginning. For starters, they couldn’t find any record of a woman matching the hoaxer’s description of his mother dying in a car crash. Van Heslum also had unusually healthy teeth and fingernails for somebody who had just spent an extended period of time in the woods.

Van Heslum’s motive for the elaborate deception isn’t known at this point. If it is found that he intentionally misled police he is liable for the costs of the investigation.

Learn more about this bizarre hoax below.

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