Police found a Dutch family living in a basement of a farmhouse in the Drenthe province reportedly “waiting for the end of time,” local news outlet RTV reported on Tuesday.
Siblings between the ages of 18 and 25 were found in the house along with a 58-year-old man who is not their father. Authorities have not released the family members’ names, and it is unclear if the man and the siblings are related.
According to RTV, the eldest brother, who is 25, turned up at a bar in the nearby village of Ruinerwold.
The bar owner, Chris Westerbeek, said the man had long hair and a dirty beard, and he looked confused.
“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 told RTV. “He said he had brothers and sisters who lived at the farm. He said he was the oldest and wanted to end the way they were living.”
It’s unclear how long the family had been living in the basement, but several Dutch outlets reported that the 25-year-old man told locals he hadn’t been outside for nine years.
he family had no contact with the outside world and lived off a vegetable plot on the farm and a few animals, RTV reported.
According to De Telegraaf, the six adult children might have been locked in the house.
Police searched the farm and found a hidden staircase in the living room that led to the basement where the family was living, the BBC reported. They arrested the 58-year-old man.
Drenthe law enforcement confirmed on Twitter that officers visited the farmhouse after receiving a report about the living conditions of the residents. Police later said there was a large investigative team at the scene.
In a press conference on Tuesday evening, Ruinerwold Mayor Roger de Groot said authorities had never seen a situation like this.
“The family is in a safe place,” he said. “They need rest.”
De Telegraaf reported that de Groot said the older man who was arrested is not the father of the five children. It was not immediately clear what his relationship to the children is, de Groot added.
He also said authorities believe the children’s mother died before they moved into the farmhouse years ago.