Media reports have shared more information on the Dutch family discovered in an abandoned farmhouse cellar, where they have been stuck for nine years. So what do we now at this stage?
Josef B., the man charged with keeping the family in the farmhouse cellar against their will, was member of the so-called 'Moonie' cult, RTV Drenthe said on Thursday afternoon. After spending his childhood and early adult life in Austria, he met an Asian woman with whom he had two children, and through her was first introduced to the cult. Through the 'Moonie' cult, Josef B. came into contact with Gerrit-Jan van D. Together they moved to the farm in the Netherlands in 2010.
Last week a family made up of a 58-year-old man and six adult children, ranging in age from 16 to 25, had been found by police in an isolated farmhouse in the vicinity of the village of Ruinerwold, near Meppel. They had had zero contact with the outside world, with the kids being made to believe they were the only human beings left on the planet. Josef B., however, was frequently seen outside woodworking. Neighbours were made to believe he lived a rather isolated and lonely lifestyle. As it turns out, contrary to earlier suggestions, the children were able to leave the house, but were stuck in a closed-off area of the garden.
The family was only discovered when the eldest son entered a bar in Ruinerwold and asked for help, according to a local cafe owner. Josef B. has been arrested as he was not willing to cooperate with the investigation. Gerrit-Jan van D. is the father of the family that was found last week, and was also hiding in the farmhouse. The investigation is currently ongoing.
What is the 'Moonie' cult?
The 'Moonie' cult is led by the reverend Sun Myung Moon from South Korea. The movement was brought to Europe in 1965, when soon after the family became involved in the Unification Church. Members tend to live off donations, which is how they survived the past decades.