A man found at the property where a large family was allegedly kept in a secret, confined space has been arrested.
Citing a Dutch prosecutor’s announcement, the New York Times reports that a 58-year-old man found at a property in the village of Ruinerwold in the Netherlands has been taken into custody and is expected to be charged with “deprivation of liberty and prejudicing the health of others.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, a family of adult siblings and their infirm father were found living in confinement in a remote village. At least five adult siblings, in addition to their father, who had reportedly suffered a stroke, were found living in isolation, according to multiple reports that vary on the number of siblings found in the home. The New York Times reports that six siblings were found in confinement, and the father was also found at the farmhouse.
Over the weekend, the eldest of the siblings, a 25-year-old man, reportedly escaped the home and went to a pub, where he told the owner his story over five glasses of beer. The man said he was the eldest of the siblings and that he wanted to get the family out of their current conditions. He reportedly said he had never been to school and had not gone to a barber in nearly a decade.
The man who was taken into custody has been described as an Austrian handyman, and according to the Daily Mail, he is known as Josef B. As CrimeOnline previously reported, fellow villagers believed he was the only person living at the farmhouse. His relationship to the family is not confirmed, but a woman who said she was a former neighbor of the family before they moved to Ruinerworld told the Daily Mail that Josef B. lived next door to the family until they moved after the mother died; sometime in the mid-aughts.
As the New York Times notes, the family has become known as the “Doomsday family” because they reportedly believed they were the last people on earth, and were awaiting the end times. According to the Daily Mail report, the siblings spoke a “fantasy language” while in isolation, and some have trouble speaking normally now.
The Daily Mail has also identified the 25-year-old brother who sought help for the family as Jan Zon van Dorsten. Photographs of the young man published on the Daily Mail correspond with photos on multiple social media platforms where the user has been active in recent months, including a LinkedIn profile that lists his job as an online store manager.
Dutch authorities have cautioned the public about speculation and rumors that may not be in agreement with the facts of the investigation.
“There is a lot of speculation in the media about what happened, but as police we have to deal with facts,” police spokesperson Grietje Hartstra told the New York Times. “We still have a lot of unanswered questions.”
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