Mystery Teenager Wanders Out of German Forest, Doesn't Speak German

Interpol is investigating the peculiar story of a 17-year-old boy who walked into Berlin's city hall and said he had been living in a forest outside of the city for five years. He told investigators that he lived in the woods with his father who died two weeks before the boy arrived in Berlin. Despite living in a German forest, the Independent reports the boy speaks fluent English and only knows a few German words.

The teenager told officials at a youth emergency center in Berlin that he buried his father and spent two weeks following his compass towards the German capital. Claudia Elitok of the Berlin Police said that the boy knows his name, but officials aren't releasing it. She also told reporters, "He has said what happened to his mother but I can't go into that information."

However, The Daily News reports that the boy said his first name is Ray and that his mother died in a car accident five years ago. They also specify that he told officials he "lived in a tent and earthen dugouts with his father in a forest" since his mother's death. How his father died is still unknown.

Investigators think he may be British and have sent inquiries to the U.K. on whether or not he matches any reports of missing persons. He said he doesn't remember where he lived before the forest.

Interpol investigate British boy who lived in German forest [Independent]
German police search for identity of English-speaking boy who emerged from woods [NYDN]


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As much as this case is about a missing boy perhaps more it is about the notion of identity and how we relate to it, especially when a mysterious situation like this comes about which forces us to reconsider what we mean when ascribing someone their identity. After all is one’s identity a sum of  their profession, status in life, where he or she lives, what language they speak, what they think or feels, what we say about them or perhaps as in this riveting case sometimes potentially nothing more than what we will ourselves to be or deny as being…?


Thankfully you've shown us a picture of a forest otherwise we wouldn't know what one looked like.

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