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Man, 58, who was arrested after family was held in secret room for nine years 'is not their father'

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer


A man who was arrested after a Dutch family was discovered inside a hidden room is not their dad, according to a local mayor.

Josef B, 58, from Austria, was detained by police officers after it was reported seven people had been living inside a small room in Drenthe in the Netherlands for nine yearsaccording to the Telegraaf.

A man, 58, and six young adults aged between 18 and 25 were said to have been living there.

They were only discovered when the eldest of the children ordered a beer at a bar in the nearby village of Ruinerwold before telling staff he needed help.

Josef B was described as a handyman and woodworker who ran a workshop in Meppel, which is located 6km from Drenthe.

The family were discovered in a farmhouse in a remote area of the province of Drenthe in northern Netherlands. (Getty)
The family reportedly spent nine years waiting for the 'end of time'. (Getty)

Police said the older man had been arrested after refusing to co-operate.

They added that they had yet to determine whether the young adults were living in the room, which was situated at the bottom of a staircase hidden behind a cupboard, voluntarily.

The force wrote in a tweet: ”Yesterday someone reported to us [that they were] worried about the living conditions of people in a house in Buitenhuizerweg in #Ruinerwold.

"We still have many unanswered questions.”

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Ruinerwold mayor Roger de Groot confirmed that the man who was arrested was not the children’s father, adding: “The police assessed the situation and found a number of rooms with makeshift furnishings where the family lived a withdrawn existence.

“That is where the six were found.”

Broadcaster RTV Drenthe reported that the group had been waiting for the end of time.

Speaking of the moment a man had revealed the location of the group, bar owner Chris Westerbeek said: “I had a chat with him and he revealed he had run away and needed help... then we called the police.

"He had long hair, a dirty beard, wore old clothes and looked confused. He said he'd never been to school and hadn't been to the barber for nine years."

It was not clear if the six young adults were at the farm voluntarily. (Getty)

"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."

A neighbour told Dutch media that he had seen one man on the farm but no children.

No details have yet been revealed of what happened to the children’s mother but local reports suggest the man was confined to a bed after suffering a stroke.

The farm has been cordoned off while an investigation gets under way.

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