WASHINGTON — Police in the Netherlands are investigating after finding a family on a farm who had been living in isolation from the outside world for years.
Authorities in the town of Ruinerwold, about an hour and a half north of Amsterdam, say they made the discovery after receiving a tip from “a young man,” who was concerned about the conditions “his family” were living in.
Officials said they found five siblings, ranging in age from 18 to 25 years old, and a man they identified as their father, according to Reuters.
Reuters reported that the police said in a statement that they found them living in a small space in the house which could be locked and it’s unclear if they were there voluntarily. Police added that the individuals may have been there for 9 years.
Local news reports indicated the family had been waiting for the end of time.
A nearby bar owner, Chris Westerbeek, told RTV Drenthe he called police after one of the siblings, a 25-year-old man “with a confused look in his eyes,” with unkempt hair, a long beard and old clothes walked in to his bar and ordered five beers for himself.
“He said where he came from, that he’d run away and that he needed help urgently,” Westerbeek said.
Mayor Roger de Groot said the group apparently had not had contact with the outside world for years and the siblings’ mother is believed to have died a number of years ago, according to Reuters.
“Police found makeshift living quarters where the family was living in hiding,” de Groot said.
The farm that the group was hold up on sits over 600 feet from the road and is hidden by dense trees.
Police said they arrested a 58-year-old man who rented the property, but it wasn’t immediately clear why or what his relationship was to the family. Police said he wasn’t the father.
According to Dutch media, a resident in the area was quoted as saying, “The whole neighborhood knew that things were not right.”
Dutch police and local news outlets are still not sure if the family was being held on the farm against their will and have not released details yet if anyone has been charged with a crime, under Dutch law.