The older man – believed to be the siblings’ father – was in bed, having had a stroke several years ago, police said. It is not known how long the family had been living in the cellar or what happened to the children’s mother. The children had no contact with the outside world and lived completely self-sufficiently with their own vegetable garden and a goat. A neighbour of the farm told RTV Drenthe he thought the man, who had boarded up all the farm windows, lived there alone. He told local reporters: ‘I am shaking on my legs.’ Police confirmed finding the family and opened an investigation last night which they said is ongoing.
The relationship between the seven people found has not been confirmed but officers said the 58-year-old has been arrested.The area around the farm is closed. A police spokesperson said: ‘First and foremost, we see it as our task to offer good care and support to the family.’ According to people living nearby the farm has been surrounded by high fences for several years. It is owned by a man who lives in the town, who believed he was renting to a single man and said he ‘knew nothing’ of the tenant or any children. The town of Ruinerwold has a population of just under 4,000 people.