One of the six people said to have been rescued from an isolated Dutch farmhouse where they had allegedly been held captive for nearly a decade is now facing criminal charges, PEOPLE confirms.
An update from authorities in Drenthe confirms that, on Thursday, a 67-year-old man was placed under arrest.
“The man is currently being suspected of being a co-perpetrator of unlawful deprivation of liberty and of abuse, in the sense of prejudicing the health of others and money laundering,” reads an update from the Drenthe Police.
The police have not said if the man who was arrested on Thursday is the father of the six siblings — aged 18 to 25 — who were discovered in the farmhouse’s basement after the eldest opened up to a pub owner about his living conditions.
The 25-year-old man who told investigators he’d been held captive at the farmhouse for nine years said he escaped to a bar.
The pub’s owner told Dutch media the man had been there three times before.
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It was on his fourth visit to the Kastelein cafe that the disheveled man with the overgrown hair and beard opened up to the Ruinerwold pub’s owner, Chris Westerbeek, about his living situation: According to the allegations, the man had been held with his five younger siblings and their bed-ridden father by a 58-year-old man from Austria.
RTV Drenthe spoke to the bar’s owner, who said the first time the 25-year-old visited the bars was 10 days before he finally told Westerbeek he’d been held captive.
“I had a chat with him” during that fourth visit “and he revealed he had run away and needed help … then we called the police,” Westerbeek said, according to the outlet. “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.”
“He said he had brothers and sisters who lived at the farm,” Westerbeek said. “He said he was the oldest and wanted to end the way they were living.”
Statements released by the Drenthe Police indicate the siblings and their father were found “in a small room” in the farmhouse, and “it is unclear whether they stayed there voluntarily. These people may have been staying on the site since 2010.”
RELATED: Man Allegedly Held Captive with Family for 9 Years Went to Dutch Pub 3 Times Before Sharing Story
The 58-year-old man who was renting the property is in custody, detained on suspicion of unlawful deprivation of liberty, the statements read.
Authorities have not named either suspect.
“This will of course be further investigated,” the statement explains. “They say they are a family, a father with six of his children. They have been examined by a doctor. We naturally care and pay attention to the family.”
The statement continues: “We understand that everyone still has many questions. We have that, too. That is why we want to do our research thoroughly and carefully. This means that we may not be able to answer everything immediately. Simply because sometimes we don’t have answers yet.”
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On Thursday, the 58-year-old suspect appeared in court in North Holland and was ordered held for 14 days as the investigation proceeds.
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Despite earlier reports, it remains unclear if the family believed the end of the world was nearing, and were awaiting the apocalypse.
According to De Telegraaf, the 25-year-old man’s social media profiles list him as an employee for Creconat, a business raided by police earlier this week, allegedly owned by the Austrian man now in custody. (People.com Latest News) More