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Police Found A Dutch Family Reportedly "Waiting For The End Of Time" In A Farmhouse Basement

A 25-year-old man turned up at a bar in the nearby village and told locals he needed help saving his siblings.

Last updated on October 16, 2019, at 8:38 a.m. ET

Posted on October 15, 2019, at 12:39 p.m. ET / Via

The farmhouse in the northern Dutch province where the family was found hiding in the basement.

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.

According to a statement Drenthe police provided to BuzzFeed News, a father and his six children were living in the basement. Police arrested a 58-year-old man, who is believed to be a tenant at the farmhouse, and said in the statement that they are investigating his relationship with the family.

According to RTV, the eldest son, 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. Drenthe police told BuzzFeed News that they may have been staying in the farmhouse since 2010.

The 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 family might have been locked in the house. Police said in the statement that it's not yet clear whether they were living there voluntarily.

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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.

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 burgemeester spreekt over de boerderij in #Ruinerwold. Politie trof een aantal provisorische woonruimten aan en 6 meerderjarige personen. Aangehouden man is niet de eigenaar, maar de huurder van het pand. Er zijn nog veel vragen, zegt Roger de Groot.

De Groot said authorities believe the children's mother died before they moved into the farmhouse years ago, De Telegraaf reported.

According to the statement from Drenthe police, a large-scale investigation team is currently looking into possible criminal offenses.


This post has been updated with information from Drenthe police.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.