Dutchman who headed ‘family’ that lived in isolation for years to remain in prison
Monday, 21 October 2019
A Dutch judge on Monday ordered a 67-year old man who headed a household that lived for almost a decade in isolation on a farm in the north of the Netherlands to remain in jail for an extra two weeks.
The man, identified only as Gerrit Jan van D., was arrested on Thursday, a few days after police discovered the seven-member family in a small room in a building in Ruinerwold, a village in the northern province of Drenthe. They had reportedly lived there since 2010.
The man is accused of violating the freedom and health of others, and money laundering, after he and his six supposed children were found on the farm, where police unearthed cash after searching the premises.
“The investigating judge has prolonged the provisional detention of the 67-year-old Ruinerwold suspect,” the prosecutor’s office said in a tweet, without giving any further details.
The group found on the farm claim to be a family. The 67-year-old is supposedly the father of the six youths, who are all adults today, including the one who sounded the alarm in a bar after running away.
This is the second arrest in this case, described by police as “exceptional”: the man who rented the farm, a 58-year-old Austrian identified by the media as Josef B., was arrested on Tuesday. On Thursday, a judge ordered his detention to be extended by two weeks and will subsequently decide whether or not to indict him.
The father of the family was member, in the 1980s, of the Dutch branch of the Moon Sect, the controversial religious organisation founded in South Korea and also called the Church of the Unification, according to Wim Koetsier, spokesman of the Church in the Netherlands.
Koetsier “strongly suspects” the father created his own group “with someone else”, the Dutch news agency ANP reported. It said, however, that Josef B. “was never a member.”