A 58-year-old man will face a Dutch court today on charges of deprivation of liberty and impacting the health of others, after police discovered five adult siblings and a man thought to be their ill father hidden in a secluded farmhouse.

Dutch prosecutors said the man, who has been identified in press reports as Austrian handyman Josef B., will be brought before a magistrate on suspicion of harbouring the family against their will.

The statement comes days after authorities first discovered the ill man and the siblings, aged between 18 and 25, in a secret room contained in a rural Ruinerwold farmhouse.

The incredible allegations emerged this week, after a local pub owner said he was visited by the eldest sibling.

Speaking to local media, Chris Westerbeek said the disheveled man ordered five beers, drank them all, and claimed to have lived in the secluded locale for the past nine years.

The 25-year-old added his family had been “waiting for the end of days,” Westerbeek told local media.

The farm’s owners have since told the media they had no idea a family was hidden on the premises. Speaking to newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, landlord Alida Rooze said “We are speechless that something like this has happened in our house.

“We didn’t know anything about it.”

While local mayor Roger de Groot used a press conference yesterday to confirm the discovery of the family, police spokesperson Grietje Hartstra swatted down theories about the case.

“There is a lot of speculation in the media about what happened, but as police we have to deal with facts,” Hartstra said.

“We still have a lot of unanswered questions.”

That will likely do little to temper discussion of the case.

Source: The New York Times
Image: Vincent Jannink / EPA