Family found locked in secret room after living in isolation on Dutch farm for years

Amsterdam – Dutch police said on Wednesday they were questioning a man who paid the rent on a farmhouse where six members of a family were found locked away in a secret room after apparently living for years in isolation.

Five siblings, estimated to be between 18 and 25 years of age, and a man they identified as their ailing father were found near Ruinerwold, a village in the northern province of Drenthe.

A man who police said had paid the rent on the property was detained, although they could not say on Wednesday whether he was suspected of a crime. Local mayor Roger de Groot had said on Tuesday that the 58-year-old was not the father of the family.

“The man is still in custody and is being questioned,” said Drenthe police spokeswoman Grietje Hartstra. “A lot is still unclear and we are investigating exactly what happened there.”

The family, who according to local news reports had been waiting for the end of time, was discovered after one member, reportedly a 25-year-old man and the eldest of the siblings, escaped and sought help at a nearby cafe.