Dutch police discover family locked away for years on farm

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch police acting on a tip-off discovered six young adult siblings who had apparently spent years locked away in a secret room in an isolated farmhouse waiting for the end of time, local broadcasters reported on Tuesday.

The six, aged 16 to 25, lived with their 58-year-old father near Ruinerwold, a village in the northern province of Drenthe, and had no contact with the outside world, RTV Drenthe reported.

Police officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

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An employee at a local cafe told RTV Drenthe one of the family members, a 25-year-old man, had come in looking scruffy and bewildered with long hair and said he had not been outside for nine years.

"You could see he had no idea where he was or what he was doing," the cafe owner, Chris Westerbeek, told the broadcaster. "He said he had run away and that he urgently needed help."

A police statement on Twitter said officers searched the farm after being tipped off.

"The owner of the premises did not want to cooperate so was detained," police spokeswoman Natalie Schubart told broadcaster RTL. She said six family members were being cared for after being found in a "closed-off space".

The siblings had apparently lived in a hidden cellar and survived on vegetables and animals tended in a secluded garden, the reports said.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Writing by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Catherine Evans)