15.10.19

Father & six 'adult children' found living in cellar waiting for 'End of Times'

Dutch police have found a father and six 'adult children' living in the cellar of an isolated farmhouse waiting for the 'end of times'.

Officials found a secret staircase behind a cupboard leading down to the basement after they were called to the secluded property in the village of Ruinerwold in the northern province of Drenthe.

There they found a man lying in a bed and six adults aged between 16 and 25. Some of those freed 'had no idea that other people existed'.


Local media said the family were found after a 25-year-old entered a nearby pub in a confused state on Sunday, drank five beers and then asked for help, saying he had not been outside for nine years.


Police arrested a 58-year-old man at the scene for failing to cooperate with the investigation, but he was not the father.

Local news station RTV Drenthe, which first reported the story, said the family 'have been living in a basement for years, waiting for the "end of times".'

'I have never come across anything like this before,' local mayor Roger de Groot told a press conference.

'Police investigated after receiving a tip-off from somebody who was concerned about the people's living conditions' and discovered the adults, de Groot said.

'They lived an isolated lifestyle,' he said, adding that they had been living on the homestead for the past nine years and several of the children 'had not been taken up in the birthing register'.

The owner of the bar, Chris Westerbeek, told RTVDrenthe he had spoken to the 25-year-old man who told him he had 'run away and needed help. Then we called the police.'

He said the man, whose beard was 'dirty' and hair unkempt, said that he had been inside for nine years and that he wanted to end the way his family were living.

Local news station RTV Drenthe, which first reported the story, said the family 'have been living in a basement for years, waiting for the "end of times".'

'I have never come across anything like this before,' local mayor Roger de Groot told a press conference.

'Police investigated after receiving a tip-off from somebody who was concerned about the people's living conditions' and discovered the adults, de Groot said.

'They lived an isolated lifestyle,' he said, adding that they had been living on the homestead for the past nine years and several of the children 'had not been taken up in the birthing register'.

The owner of the bar, Chris Westerbeek, told RTVDrenthe he had spoken to the 25-year-old man who told him he had 'run away and needed help. Then we called the police.'

He said the man, whose beard was 'dirty' and hair unkempt, said that he had been inside for nine years and that he wanted to end the way his family were living.

'He said he'd never been to school and seemed very confused. He spoke in a childish way,' said Westerbeek. He told him that his siblings were between the age of 16 and 25.

Westerbeek contacted the police who searched the farm and found a hidden staircase down to the cellar behind a cupboard in the living room. When police stepped downstairs they found a man laying in bed.

Initial reports said that the man was the father of the six adults however, according to Roger de Groot, mayor of the village of Ruinerwold, the man the police discovered is not their father.

Though not their father, De Groot did say that the man did rent the property for the adults.

The man was later arrested for failing to help police with their investigation.

The windows at the farmhouse had been boarded up and the family appeared to be living self-sufficiently with their own vegetable garden and animals.

Police are still working to confirm the exact relationship between the adults.

Residents in the village said they 'always saw a man' who drove past the area daily.

Nobody seemed to know the identity of the man, but they gave him the nickname 'Joseph the Austrian'.

'You only had to get close to the yard and he already sent you away. He was watching everything with binoculars,' one resident told RTV Drenthe.

One neighbour said they thought the father lived there alone.

'I really had no idea about this,' 'according to neighbour who lived a few hundred metres away.

'Anyway, this is the countryside. If someone does not want contact, then you accept that,' he added.

RTVDrenthe reported that the farmhouse was hidden from the main road by trees and the access road to the property crosses a bridge over a canal.

Another neighbour said that alarm bells rang when they worked out that the gate to their property was always locked.

They said they tried to look into the yard with another neighbour but saw a camera hanging from a tree. After that they didn't try to go back.

'A police car was parked in front of the house several times. We thought the police were aware,' said another.

The adult children were not registered by any local authorities.

During the search, the family members were taken from the property to a recreational park while authorities checked for fire and safety hazards.

The location of the mother is unknown.

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