Six young adults and their father have received medical treatment after Dutch police acting on a tip-off discovered them locked away in a secret room at an isolated farm, officials in the Netherlands said on Tuesday.
The six, aged 18 to 25, and their ailing father were found near Ruinerwold, a village in the northern province of Drenthe, local Mayor Roger de Groot said.
They had apparently had no contact with the outside world for nine years.
De Groot said a 58-year-old man, not the father of the children, was arrested at the farm. His role was unclear.
“As far as I know their mother died before they arrived there,” he said.
“Police found makeshift living quarters where the family was living in hiding.”
The family, who according to local news reports had been waiting for the end of time, was discovered after one of the siblings escaped and sought help at a nearby cafe.
The siblings and their father, who was reportedly bedridden after a stroke, were receiving treatment at an undisclosed location, the mayor said.
“I understand there are a lot of questions,” de Groot said. We have many too. The police are investigating all possible scenarios.”
The siblings had apparently lived in a hidden cellar and survived on vegetables and animals tended in a secluded garden, local TV RTV Drenthe reported.