Six adults were rescued after living in a cellar for nine years with no connection to the outside world.
The Guardian reported that 10 days ago a 25-year-old man ran into a local bar in the Dutch province of Drenthe called the Kastelein café. He “ordered and drank five beers on his own,” the bar owner told RTV Drenthe, adding that he “looked confused” and was “unkempt, with long tangled hair.”
The man reportedly told the bar owner that he had just run away and needed help. He said he and his brothers and sisters had been trapped in a cellar for nine years and “wanted to end the way they were living.” He explained that they had never been to school and were “waiting for the end of time.”
Hearing the story, the bar owner called the police.
Drenthe police confirmed on Twitter that they visited a house in the village of Ruinerwold after “being alerted to concerns about the living conditions of a number of people living there in an enclosed space.”
The people found living there included a 58-year-old man who was arrested upon the police’s arrival for failing to cooperate with the investigation. They also found various adult children between the ages of 16 and 25. It’s unclear which, if the man is the kids’ father.
Inside the house, police found a hidden staircase leading to the family’s cellar behind a cupboard in the living room. They also found several rooms with makeshift furnishings. The young adults, who allegedly had not left the farmhouse in nine years, seemed to have survived off of their own crops and livestock. These included goats, geese and homegrown vegetables.
Neighbors of the family said that for years, they saw a man looking through the window with binoculars. They said he kicked everyone out as soon as they got close to the property. He allegedly moved in nine years ago.
The adult children’s mother was nowhere to be found.
According to The Algemeen Dagblad newspaper, police believe she may have died and been buried on the property.
“Our primary concern is for the family members,” a police spokeswoman told The Guardian.
“What exactly happened in the farmhouse is still very unclear. We are exploring all possible scenarios,” added the spokeswoman.
Local mayor Roger de Groot said police still have many unanswered questions.
The investigation is still ongoing.