The father of a family which allegedly spent nine years isolated in a Dutch farmhouse has been arrested under suspicion of deprivation of liberty and money laundering, becoming the second man suspected of criminal conduct in the extraordinary case.

Drenthe police today confirmed a 67-year-old man was arrested in relation to the “exceptional” discovery, days after authorities first investigated the Ruinerwold property.

Although he was discovered with the siblings in a hidden room on the property, Dutch authorities now suspect the father of collaborating with a 58-year-old Austrian identified as Josef B. to keep the family on the premises.

“We have reason to believe that the six people involved did not stay at the [farmhouse] premises out of free will,” police said.

The money laundering allegation pertains to a large quantity of cash which police allegedly located at the farmhouse.

The man is slated to face a magistrate today.

Many details of the case remain unclear, but police state they are investigating “whether following a certain belief in life or faith has led to the living situation.”

Dutch station RTV Drenthe reports the father and his children were believers in the Unification Church, aka the ‘Moonies’, who have long been accused of cult-like practices.

Separately, Franz B., the brother of Josef B., told Austrian paper Kronen Zeitung that Josef “was with a sect, he felt himself better than the Jesus.

“For ten years, we have had no contact.”

It is unclear if Josef B. was also a member of the Unification Church.

Earlier, local media reported the family had been waiting at the premises for the end of time. Authorities have not confirmed that allegation.

Investigators continue to talk with the siblings as they piece together the circumstances of their apparent isolation.

“At the moment a lot of new information comes to us every day,” police said.

“It is our task to investigate this information for accuracy and relevance to the investigation.

“The circumstances in which the suspects and those involved lived demand extra care in the investigation.”

Source: The Guardian
Image: Vincent Jannink / EPA