‘Forest Boy’ Revealed to Be Hoax

Teenager is 20-year-old Dutch man

Adam Roy

A young man who showed up a Berlin’s city hall last fall claiming to have spent five years living in the wilderness is really a 20-year-old Dutch man, German police say. Robin Van Helsum, of Hengelo, Netherlands, told authorities that he had lived in the woods with his father until the older man died in August. Investigators began to doubt his story after failing to find his father’s grave and noticing that Van Helsum’s backpack and tent looked suspiciously new. A former girlfriend in the Netherlands identified Van Helsum after police broadcast his picture. “He had personal problems and that was his way of beginning a new life,” a friend was quoted as saying. German authorities may charge him with fraud over the charade.

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