The family, who according to local news reports had been waiting for the end of time, was discovered after one member, reportedly a 25-year-old man and the eldest of the siblings, escaped and sought help at a nearby cafe.
Amsterdam – Dutch police said on Wednesday
they were questioning a man who paid the rent on a farmhouse
where six members of a family were found locked away in a secret
room after apparently living for years in isolation.
Five siblings, estimated to be between 18 and 25 years of
age, and a man they identified as their ailing father were found
near Ruinerwold, a village in the northern province of Drenthe.
A man who police said had paid the rent on the property was
detained, although they could not say on Wednesday whether he
was suspected of a crime. Local mayor Roger de Groot had said on
Tuesday that the 58-year-old was not the father of the family.
“The man is still in custody and is being questioned,” said
Drenthe police spokeswoman Grietje Hartstra. “A lot is still
unclear and we are investigating exactly what happened there.”
The family, who according to local news reports had been
waiting for the end of time, was discovered after one member,
reportedly a 25-year-old man and the eldest of the siblings,
escaped and sought help at a nearby cafe.
Police said they found the family in a “small space in the
house which could be locked” and that it was unclear whether
they were being held against their will.
Officials have not commented on reports that the family may
have held “end of days” apocalyptic beliefs.
“There is a lot of speculation in the media about what
happened, but as police we deal with facts. We still have a lot
of unanswered questions,” Hartstra said.
The children’s mother was believed to have died before the
family moved to the Dutch farm in 2010, mayor de Groot said.
None of the family members were registered as residents with the
municipality, police said.
Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad said the man in custody was
an Austrian carpenter identified as “Joseph B.”. It was not
clear what his role was or whether he lived on the farm.
The siblings had apparently lived in makeshift rooms inside
the farm and survived partly on vegetables and animals from a
secluded garden on the property, local TV RTV Drenthe reported.