'Forest Boy' Found After 16 Years in Siberia Wilderness

Parents raised him there from age of 4

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 11, 2013 6:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – A 20-year-old Russian man has emerged from a Siberian forest after spending 16 years living there. The man says he and his hermit parents moved there when he was 4. His folks finally left in May, and locals say they then decided to head to an island off Russia's Pacific coast—and they didn't invite their son, report AFP and RT News. "He has no education, no social skills, and no ideas about the world beyond the forest," says a local prosecutor, per RIA Novosti. But "he looked normal and healthy; he only spoke slowly, since he doesn't communicate as often as most people."

It's a little unclear how he was discovered: AFP says he set off for a village in search of help as summer ended; RT reports a woman discovered him and brought him to authorities. Police are searching for the man's parents, reports RT, but even if they find them, they're unlikely to face charges, as prosecutors "have no evidence" of neglect or abuse. The prosecutor's office has applied to get the man ID documents so that he might be eligible for social services—though it's not clear that he wants them: He has already returned to his forest home, described by RT as a "mud hut." He is "now still there, in his dugout, getting ready for winter, collecting firewood," says the prosecutor, per RIA Novosti. RT notes that such cases of feral children aren't unheard of in Russia; it lists three others.

The Altai Mountains of southern Siberia, Russia.   (AP Photo/Nature, Johannes Krause)
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