Public opinion has been shaken by the news that the police in a small town in the Netherlands found a family that has been living for the last nine years hidden in a cellar and "waiting for the end of the world." Their confinement - which took place in the province of Drenthe, near the village of Ruinerworld - lasted so long and was so absolute that some of the boys rescued from the place had no idea that there were other people living on the planet.
The discovery was made this Sunday when one of the six young men, aged 18 to 25 who lived on the estate, escaped and broke into a local pub, police confirmed to RTV Drenthe.
Upon arriving there, the 25-year-old ordered five beers and began chatting with the owner of the bar, Chris Westerbeek. "I started talking to him and he revealed that he had fled and that he needed help … so we called the police," the man explained to the aforementioned chain. “He had long, dirty hair and beard, wore old clothes, and looked confused. He said he had never been to school and that he had not gone to the hairdresser for nine years."
"[Later] he told me that he had brothers and sisters who lived with him on a farm," added Westerbeek. "He said he was the oldest and he wanted him to end the way they lived."
Local authorities and the mayor of the town, Mayor de Groot, were notified immediately and when they reached the remote farm they found a secret staircase hidden behind a pantry and leading to the basement where the family was hidden.
There they found a 58-year-old man who was in bed and who appeared to have had a heart attack years ago and five young adults. “We meet six adults, we are giving them support and attention. The owner of the building did not want to cooperate with our investigation, so he was arrested,”he said in a police tweet.
According to neighbors, a woman and a man arrived at the farm about nine years ago and immediately fenced off the property and covered the windows. There is no trace of the woman and some thought that the man found in the place lived alone.
Although different media have identified the adult as the father of the children, the mayor of Groot assured in a press conference that the man is not related to the brothers and that he is not the owner of the farm.
"We knew absolutely nothing about this," they assured the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper. Klaas and Alida Rooze, owners of the farm. “For years we rented the house to an individual and now we find out that this man was living there with the children. We have no idea how this could have happened.”
"Part of the investigation is to determine exactly what people were doing on that farm," Nathalie Schubart, a police spokeswoman for The Guardian newspaper, said. "There are still many questions for which we have no answers."
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