• Germany edition
 
Forest boy 'was in adolescent crisis'
Photo: DPA

Forest boy 'was in adolescent crisis'

Published: 17 Jun 2012 14:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Jun 2012 14:01 GMT+02:00

More details emerged on Sunday about the life of Robin van Helsum, previously known as “forest boy Ray.” The troubled Dutch 20-year-old was reportedly a cannabis smoker who was unsure which way his life was going.

Van Helsum's story - that he had been living in the woods with his father for five years - before throwing himself on the mercy of Berlin police last September was exposed as a pack of lies on Friday, when he was identified by his family and friends.

He is a shy boy who rarely went to parties, former friend and flatmate Mo Rahimi Rigi, 21, from his hometown of Hengelo in the Netherlands, told the Berliner Zeitung am Sonntag on Sunday.

“He actually preferred sitting at home and playing on the computer,” said Rigi, adding that van Helsum was a fan of American cartoons such as South Park and Family Guy.

“Robin is actually a completely normal boy,” Rigi told the paper. “He was good at keeping himself entertained. But his computer was almost always on.”

Rigi moved into a shared flat with van Helsum in 2010. They had attended the same college, after which van Helsum began vocational training, but dropped out after three years.

According to Rigi, van Helsum had then been bored as an intern at telephone company Voicedata. “It wasn’t much fun, but he didn’t really know which direction his life should go in. Maybe it made him a bit depressive,” he told the paper.

It was at this time that the 20-year-old decided to run away and start a new life somewhere else. “Last time I saw him was at the beginning of September,” Rigi said. “I used to make him a sandwich every morning and when I came home it lay there untouched.”

That was when van Helsum disappeared without trace to become Ray, the forest boy.

Meanwhile, psychologists have been musing over Van Helsum’s motive for keeping up his fake identity for so long.

“It’s a real achievement,” child psychologist Michael Günter told Focus magazine on Sunday. But he added that it was not an uncommon phenomenon in young adults, who often escape into a fantasy world if going through an “adolescent crisis.”

Relatives identified van Helsum - who had been reported missing since September - after police persuaded him to allow them to release his photograph on Tuesday, solving the mystery that had foxed press and authorities for ten months.

Van Helsum, who is now being dubbed the “Holland Pinocchio” by the German media, is likely to remain in Berlin for the time being, local police said on Saturday evening. He has so far failed to get in touch with his Dutch friends, according to newspaper reports.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

08:56 June 18, 2012 by puisoh
If Germany can throw billions into Greece and also take in immigrnats who refuse to integrate, I think they can help save a soul by really giving this boy a new life here. The breakup of family leading to children without directions in the western society is getting more common, children did not ask to be born and therefore should be provided with love and care and guidance.

Besides, he is Dutch, a EU member country, will learn German easily ... OTOH, if he is sent back to his home country without perspective, he might go on a shooting spree. Then Germany gets blame again.
11:31 June 18, 2012 by charlenej
I don't know his life, but I do know that there are people in the world who have had to go through horrific things as children and they have never done anything like this. This is not normal behavior and he needs a psych eval at least. If he is not mentally ill, and if this was an "I don't know what to do with my life moment" then this is one of the most outrageously spoiled acts ever. If he is not ill, he needs to get over himself and grow up fast. Life gets a lot harder than, "I'm bored."
14:38 June 18, 2012 by Grebo
At 20 years old he is no longer an 'adolescent'. He is a man and ,barring and real physiological damage, should act like one!
Today's headlines
Tennis aces close in on Fed Cup final
Members of the German Fed Cup Team celebrate after an earlier victory in the tournament. Photo: DPA

Tennis aces close in on Fed Cup final

Germany took hold of their Fed Cup semi-final on Saturday, winning both the opening day singles to lead Australia 2-0 in Brisbane. READ () »

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradited a former Yugoslav spy chief, Zdravko Mustac, to Germany on Thursday to face charges for the 1983 murder of a dissident on German soil. READ () »

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years
An officer of the Lower Saxon Criminal Investigation Department (CID) securing evidence on the hijacked ship Marida Marguerite. Photo: DPA

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years

A German court has sentenced a Somali pirate chief to 12 years in jail for hijacking a ship off the Horn of Africa and tormenting its crew during an eight-month ordeal. READ () »

New app helps clients find prostitutes
Photo: DPA

New app helps clients find prostitutes

While the German government is considering tightening prostitution laws, Berlin entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app to connect sex-workers with clients. READ () »

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend
Photo: DPA

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend

The days running up to Easter may be cool and wet, but the holiday weekend should be a bit warmer for most of Germany, according to forecasters. READ () »

Berlin man must call himself a mother
The fight over the transgender man's right to be his child's official father has been raging since last year. Photo: DPA

Berlin man must call himself a mother

A transgender person who became the first man in Germany to give birth in March 2013 must be registered as the child's mother, a court has ruled after his year-long court battle to be named a father. READ () »

Study: rape convictions fall sharply
Photo: DPA

Study: rape convictions fall sharply

The chance of being convicted of rape in Germany has more than halved in the past two decades to fewer than one in ten, a major study revealed on Thursday. READ () »

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax
The tax privilege for investment income is unfair, says the SPD. Photo: DPA

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax

The centre-left half of Germany's coalition government has called for the old top rate of a 45-percent tax on investments to be brought back - to match standard income tax and fight the squeeze on middle incomes. READ () »

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car
Sniffing out the money. Photo: DPA

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car

The number of Germans smuggling large amounts of cash across the Swiss border into Germany rose dramatically last year. Customs officers said on Thursday they made a find in almost every third car they checked. READ () »

Crystal meth use hits record level
Crystal meth seized in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Crystal meth use hits record level

Consumption of crystal meth in Germany appears to have reached a record level, according to government figures published on Thursday. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,104
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd