A man kept his children in a cellar for nine years “waiting for the world to end” at a remote farm in the Netherlands, writes Zoe Drewett of the UK’s highest-circulating newspaper Metro. The family was discovered when the man’s eldest son stumbled into a cafe in the town of Ruinerwold, Drenthe, Netherlands. The son— now a man—informed Chris Westerbeek, the cafe’s owner, that he had not ventured outside the farmhouse for nearly a decade.
Police found a 58-year-old man with his children, with ages ranging from 16 to 25 in the farmhouse. The oldest claim claimed to have dropped by the cafe several times. The last time he entered the cafe was where he told the owner he wanted to “end” his family’s way of life. Some of the 58-year-old’s children did not have any sort of interaction with their neighbors, convincing themselves that they were the only people on earth.
|Photo Credit: PA (via Metro)|
Westerbeek tells Dutch broadcaster RTV Drenthe, “He was very confused. He ordered five beers and drank them. Then I had a chat with him and he told me he had run away and needed help. Then we called the police.” Police visited the farmhouse where they found a secret flight of stairs hidden behind a cupboard. The stairs led to the family’s hiding place. According to police, the older man—believed to be the children’s father—was in bed, having suffered from a stroke several years ago.
|Photo Credit: Rex (via Metro)|
No one knew what happened to the siblings’ mother. The siblings lived self-sufficiently with their own vegetable garden and a goat. The 58-year-old man was arrested by officers and the area surrounding the farm had been closed, as authorities launched an investigation into the incident. A police spokesperson stated, “First and foremost, we see it as our task to offer good care and support to the family.”
Apparently, the owner of the farm, who lives in Ruinerwold, thought he was renting the house to a single man, claiming that he “knew nothing” of his tenant’s children.