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Bizarre Mystery Uncovered at Netherlands Farmhouse

Man, 25, said he and four siblings hadn't been outside in 9 years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2019 3:14 AM CDT
Updated Oct 16, 2019 6:33 AM CDT
The small group of buildings at the farm in Ruinerwold, 80 miles northeast of Amsterdam, Netherlands, Tuesday Oct. 15, 2019.   (RTL Netherlands via AP)

(Newser) – A bizarre mystery in the Netherlands was uncovered after a scruffy man in old clothes visited a local bar. The Guardian reports that bar owner Chris Westerbeek told Dutch media that the man first visited 10 days ago and drank five beers on his own. He returned on Sunday saying he had run away and needed help, Westerbeek said. The bar owner said he called police after the 25-year-old man told him he hadn't been outside for nine years and that he lived with four younger brothers and sisters and they wanted to "end the way they were living." Police then visited a remote farmhouse because of concerns about the "living conditions of a number of people living there in an enclosed space" and found five adults between the ages of 18 and 25, as well as a man believed to be their father.

Police found a hidden staircase that led to a secret room where the family was found, reports the BBC. According to local reports, another man, a 58-year-old handyman originally from Austria, was arrested at the farmhouse in the village of Ruinerwold and is refusing to cooperate with authorities. Shocked neighbors say they only ever saw one man at the house. Local mayor Roger de Groot says police found "a number of improvised rooms where a family lived a withdrawn life." The father was reportedly bedridden after a stroke. The mayor says the siblings and their father are being treated at an undisclosed location, RTE reports. "I understand there are a lot of questions," de Groot says. "We have many too. The police are investigating all possible scenarios." (Read more Netherlands stories.)

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