Man suspected of illegally holding Dutch family: prosecutors
Dutch prosecutors said Wednesday that a 58-year-old man arrested after the discovery of a family of six hidden on a remote farm was suspected of holding them against their will and harming their health.
“In the investigation, the man is currently suspected of being involved in illegal deprivation of liberty and harming the health of others,” Dutch prosecutors said in a statement, adding that he would appear before an examining magistrate on Thursday.
Police said they had discovered a father and his five children aged between 18 and 25 on Monday in a small, closed-off room in a farmhouse in the village of Ruinerwold in the northern province of Drenthe.
The father was not the man who was arrested, they said.
The Austrian foreign ministry earlier said an Austrian national from Vienna was being held in relation to the case, but said the man did not want to have contact with Austrian officials.
Dutch prosecutors did not confirm the suspect’s nationality.
Dutch and Austrian media said the man was known as “Josef, the Austrian” and was the one who held the group in the cellar, renting the house and planting vegetables for them in the garden.
According to media reports, the family had spent years “waiting for the end of time”.
Ruinerwold’s mayor told journalists: “I have never come across anything like this before.”
The oldest of the children, a 25-year-old who has only gone by the name of “Jan”, kept a Facebook account and posted an update in June for the first time in nine years, according to Dutch media.
Local news station RTV Drenthe, which first reported the story, said police were alerted after “Jan” walked into a village bar on Sunday evening.