A 58-year-old man in the Netherlands was arrested Tuesday after his family was found in the cellar of a remote farmhouse where they had been living for years waiting for “the end of time,” the Dutch news outlet RTV Drenthe reported.
On Sunday evening, the oldest son, 25, left the farm and headed toward a pub in Ruinerwold.
After reaching the pub, the man reportedly became incredibly confused, and police were called to the scene.
“He said he needed help and wanted to put an end to the situation he was in,” the pub’s owner, Chris Westerbeek, told Dagblad van het Noorden, a Dutch newspaper.
“He ordered five beers and drank them. Then I had a chat with him and he revealed he had run away and needed help. … Then we called the police,” Westerbeek said, according to CBS News.
Westerbeek said the 25-year-old told him that he could only get away at night because it was practically impossible during the day. He also said he could never go back to the farm.
Police went to the farm the next day after receiving several disturbing tips.
“Yesterday someone reported to us who was worried about the living conditions of people in a house on the Buitenhuizerweg in #Ruinerwold. They would stay there in an enclosed space. We went there,” the tweet from Drenthe Police read.
Once authorities arrived on the property, six adults ranging in age from 18 to 25 were found as well as a 58-year-old man, who refused to cooperate with the investigation, Fox News reported.
“We have found six adults, there is concern and attention. All scenarios are still open. Our research is in full swing and we cannot share more information at this time,” Drenthe Police said in another tweet.
Authorities found a secret staircase to the basement hidden behind a cupboard in the living room of the house.
According to local reports, the family was entirely self-sufficient, living off a vegetable garden and a few farm animals. The young adults in the family had no knowledge that there were any other people alive outside of their farm, according to RTV.
Neighbors reportedly were completely unaware of the situation and thought the older man lived there alone.
It is estimated that the family was living in this space for nearly nine years, Mayor Roger de Groot told local media outlets Tuesday.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
Authorities were looking into possible criminal charges against the older man.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.