The 25-year-old Dutch man who told investigators he’d been held captive in a farmhouse basement for nine years before escaping to a bar had been to that bar three times before, the owner of the business said.
It was on his fourth visit to the Kastelein cafe that the disheveled man with the overgrown hair and beard opened up to the Ruinerwold pub’s owner, Chris Westerbeek, about his living situation: According to the allegations, the man had been held with his five younger siblings and their bed-ridden father by a 58-year-old man from Austria.
RTV Drenthe spoke to the bar’s owner, who said the first time the 25-year-old visited the bars was 10 days before he finally told Westerbeek he’d been held captive.
During the first visit, the bar owner says the man ordered five pints of beer, drinking them quietly by himself.
“I had a chat with him” during that fourth visit “and he revealed he had run away and needed help … then we called the police,” Westerbeek said, according to the outlet. “He had long hair, a dirty beard, wore old clothes and looked confused. He said he’d never been to school and hadn’t been to the barber for nine years.”
“He said he had brothers and sisters who lived at the farm,” Westerbeek said. “He said he was the oldest and wanted to end the way they were living.”
The youngest sibling is said to be 18, according to police.
Statements released by the Drenthe Police indicate the siblings and their father were found “in a small room” in the farmhouse, and “it is unclear whether they stayed there voluntarily. These people may have been staying on the site since 2010.”
Nevertheless, the 58-year-old man who was renting the property is in custody, detained on suspicion of unlawful deprivation of liberty, the statements read.
Authorities have not named the suspect.
“This will of course be further investigated,” the statement explains. “They say they are a family, a father with six of his children. They have been examined by a doctor. We naturally care and pay attention to the family.”
The statement continues: “We understand that everyone still has many questions. We have that, too. That is why we want to do our research thoroughly and carefully. This means that we may not be able to answer everything immediately. Simply because sometimes we don’t have answers yet.”
On Thursday, the suspect appeared in court in North Holland and was ordered held for 14 days as the investigation proceeds.
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Despite earlier reports, it remains unclear if the family believed the end of the world was nearing, and were awaiting the apocalypse.
According to De Telegraaf, the 25-year-old man’s social media profiles list him as an employee for Creconat, a business raided by police earlier this week, allegedly owned by the Austrian man now in custody.