Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

'Forest boy' refuses photo release

Berlin officials are baffled by the identity of a teenager who claims he has been living in a forest for years

The "forest boy" of Berlin is refusing to have his photograph released despite investigators being flooded with calls from all over the world from people saying they are related to him.

Ray, 17, who speaks fluent English, arrived in the city on September 5 claiming to have walked for two weeks.

He told officials he had lived in the woods with his father for the previous five years - but set off alone after his father died in a fall and he buried him.

The mystery resulted in Berlin police sending Ray's fingerprints and photograph to foreign police forces in a bid to identify him. Detectives also called upon Interpol, the world's largest police organisation, to help.

But so far there have been no significant leads, police said today. And Ray, who is being looked after by a legally-appointed guardian, is refusing to have his photograph released publicly.

"There are of course many questions," said Berlin police spokeswoman Miriam Tauchmann. "At the moment he doesn't want us to put a picture of him in the public because he wants to live like a normal teenager and we have to respect that."

Investigators have little of promise to go on despite Ray's story attracting global interest. "Many people have called to say they have information about Ray, people saying he's their son or people calling saying they're his grandparents," the spokeswoman said.

"We have had phone calls from all over the world, I couldn't tell you them all, but from Europe, America, from every country we are getting information. We have no good information from the phone calls to say this is a good direction (to pursue)".

Officers have not yet taken a DNA sample from Ray and say even if they had, there would not necessarily be anything to compare it with. Police are also sceptical about the teenager's story, which gives them little to go on.

It had been reported that Ray told police his mother, Doreen, had died years earlier in a car crash - but that officials found no one of that name dying in a crash. The spokeswoman said Ray did not know where the car crash was.

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