'Cultist' detained in Dutch farm family case

Clay Curtis
October 19, 2019

"Sometimes people who are spiritual start their own church or movement".

The first suspect was charged earlier on Thursday with unlawful detention and harming others' health, and will remain in detention for at least two more weeks, prosecutors said.

The family's outlandish living arrangement was discovered when the eldest of the young adults, Jan Zon van Dorsten, 25, turned up at a pub in Ruinerworld.

The family became involved with the religious cult known for mass weddings when the father moved to the Netherlands and lived off donations that enabled them to live at the farm for almost a decade in isolation, according to the broadcaster. He said he wanted his isolated lifestyle to end.

"The suspect is said to be the father (and) the other five and the person who reported the case are said to be his children", police said. They also found a large amount of cash on the property, which apparently prompted the money laundering charge. Dutch media have identified him as Josef Brunner, a handyman on the property who paid the rent and brought in supplies.

It is unclear whether Josef B. lived on the property together with the family.

Authorities have not named either suspect.

An aerial picture taken October 15, 2019, shows a view of the farm where a father and six children had been living in the cellar, In Ruinerwold, northern Netherlands.

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Since Tuesday, police psychologists have had a chance to speak to the family and have found out they were occasionally allowed out of the house but only on land immediately surrounding the farmhouse. The police said on Thursday that they are still investigating the matter. She said they were having to tread a careful line between looking after the family's welfare and finding out what was necessary for the investigation. The family is in "a safe place" now, he said.

Janny Knol, North Netherlands deputy police chief, confirmed that the children had been banned from going outside the house. He spoke in a childish way, ' said Mr Westerbeek. It was there that he was believed to have met 58-year-old Carpenter Brunner.

The newspaper de Volksrant also reports that Brunner and van Dorsten were neighbours in Hasselt and that Brunner later became Dorsen's tenant at the farmhouse.

For nearly 10 years, the family lived in an enclosed area of the property and didn't venture outside - until this month when the eldest son left, NOS reported.

His estranged brother has been "a long-time member of the church", according to the FFWPU, which said the pair had not been in contact since 1984.

Bar proprietor Chris Westerbeek - who referred to as police - instructed Dutch broadcaster RTV Drenthe Jan had been in 3 times however on his final go to instructed him he couldn't go residence.

"We are grateful that the six victims in this tragedy are now under the care of the local authorities and pray that they will be able to heal from their ordeal with time and professional help", it said.

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