Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 November 2019

Police arrest father of family locked away on Dutch farm for nine years

He is the second man to have been arrested in connection with the case

Scientific investigators work in the farm on the Buitenhuizerweg in Ruinerwold on October 18, 2019 during ongoing police searches after the detention earlier this week of Austrian Josef B who is being investigated together with a Dutch man who allegedly held his six children in a secret room in a farmhouse.  AFP / ANP / Wilbert Bijzitter
Scientific investigators work in the farm on the Buitenhuizerweg in Ruinerwold on October 18, 2019 during ongoing police searches after the detention earlier this week of Austrian Josef B who is being investigated together with a Dutch man who allegedly held his six children in a secret room in a farmhouse.  AFP / ANP / Wilbert Bijzitter

The 67-year-old father of a family found living in a secret room on a desolate Dutch farm earlier this week was arrested on Thursday.

The father was arrested on charges of deprivation of liberty, abuse and money laundering.

The arrest came hours after a man who was renting out the property, named publicly as Josef B, had his detention extended after he appeared in court on Thursday.

The 58-year-old Austrian, who reportedly isn’t related to the family in the case, faces charges of deprivation of liberty and was arrested shortly after police raided the farm on Monday.

Although he rented the property out, Josef B didn’t live there and ran a carpentry business in a nearby town.

Five of the siblings were found on the property in a police raid on Monday, along with their father, after the sixth one escaped and alerted a nearby bar owner.

Police said the six siblings may have been kept there against their will for nine years.

“We have reasons to suspect that the six persons involved did not stay in the house … of their own free will,” police said on Thursday.

Special detectives were deployed to examine the property this week, which is hidden behind hedges and bushes near the Dutch village of Ruinerwold.

Police said the six siblings are being cared for by specialists while a team of 30 investigators combs the house for evidence.

It is still unclear why the family did not leave the farm. Josef B’s brother had told local media previously that the landlord had been a member of the Unification Church, which many deem a religious cult.

Other reports from Dutch media that surfaced earlier this week said the family were being held in the room "until the end of time".

Updated: October 18, 2019 05:48 PM

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