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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 April, 2004, 00:27 GMT 01:27 UK
'Bush boys' unmasked as runaways
Kyle, left, and Roen Horn
Kyle, left, and Roen Horn lived on donations and discounted fruit
Two brothers who claimed to have been raised in total isolation in a cabin in the Canadian wilderness have been unmasked as runaways from California.

Tom Green, 23, and his brother Will, 16, set up camp the outskirts of Vernon, a small town in the interior of British Columbia, last August.

They told concerned locals they had never been to school or a city.

But their real names are Kyle and Roen Horn, and they come from a suburb of Sacramento.

Roen, who at 1.8m (6ft1in) weighed just 34kg (84lbs), has an eating disorder and was registered with Californian police as "missing teenager at risk".

He was about to be forcibly hospitalised in California when he ran away.

Soon after, Kyle left home in a dispute with his parents over his unwillingness to work.

The brothers hitchhiked to Canada with $200 and a tent.

They survived for four months on discounted fruit and donations, before sympathetic locals arranged for them to stay in youth hostel over the winter.

'Bush boys'

Dubbed the Bush Boys by the local press, they told an incredible story.

They said they were born an hour's hike east of the small town of Revelstoke, east of Vernon.

Their parents, Mary and Joseph, wished to live in isolated self-sufficiency, Tom said, so the location of the house had to stay secret.

And while they had never been to school or a city, or even tasted birthday cake, their "bush" home was comfortable, with some modern comforts, including a refrigerator and a computer powered by a water wheel.

Tom said they left over a disagreement about diet - the two brothers are strict vegetarians who only eat raw foods and nuts, and won't touch root vegetables.

Except for their diet, none of it was true.

While Tom said the family made yearly trips to Revelstoke for supplies, no one in the small town of 10,000 could recall ever seeing them.

Suspicions were aroused further when local police failed to find any records of the boys or their parents.

Their story finally unravelled over their lack of identification.

Last week, after months of negotiation, Tom agreed to talk to Canadian television so that he could appeal to the authorities to give him the papers he needed to claim benefits.

The interview was spotted by a family friend.

By then Will, or Roen, had been committed to hospital because of his dangerously low weight, where he remains.

And what has emerged is a tale of two disturbed young men.

'Not very sane'

Both boys still refuse to believe Roen is seriously ill.

Their parents, Rodger and Diana Horn, say Kyle changed in high school.

"He had some beliefs that that seemed not very sane," his mother told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

"He said that he though that Michael Jackson might be Michael the archangel."

He spent hours in his room on the internet and one of his postings, in which she says he advocated blowing up police cars, even attracted the attention of the FBI.

"He had to leave our house because he didn't believe in working," Rodger said.

"So basically we kicked him out and we knew he was going to be going to Canada. He gave us a call in December and said he would possibly come home and that's the last we ever heard from him," he added.

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