Gerrit Jan van D., a 67-year-old man found living in complete isolation with six of his nine children on a farm in Ruinerwold last year, sexually abused two of his oldest children when he thought they were possessed by the spirit of their mother or another woman, the Public Prosecutor revealed in court during the first proforma hearing of this case on Tuesday.
The children found living an isolated existence in a hidden space on a farm in Ruinerwold last year responded to a book about their father Gerrit Jan van D., which is being published on Friday. They were "hit hard" by the book Spookhoeve Ruinerwold, written by journalists Silvan Schoonhoven and Marcel Vink, they said on talk show Op1 on Thursday.
Gerrit Jan van D. regularly beat and abused his children in the around nine years they were kept secluded on a farm in Ruinerwold, according to accounts of how he drove "evil spirits" out of them that he wrote down himself and testimony the children gave the police. In some of those "exorcisms" Van D. used his "spiritual sword", the Telegraaf reports based on those accounts, which are described in the book Spookhoeve Ruinerwold set to publish later this week.
The year 2019 was a busy one for the Netherlands, with elections and strikes, multiple high profile murders and shootings, and a summer full of heat records, severe storms and poisonous caterpillars. Here follows a review of the top ten stories of this year.
DNA tests confirmed that 67-year-old Gerrit Jan van D. is the father of the children found living with him in a hidden space on a farm in Ruinerwold in October. The man is also suspected of sexually abusing two of his three oldest children, who had already left home when the family withdrew from the society nine years ago, the Public Prosecutor said on Thursday.
The Public Prosecutor wants to perform DNA tests to determine whether Gerrit Jan van D. really is the father of the six now-adult children who lived with him in complete isolation on a farm in Ruinerwold for years, a spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service confirmed to NU.nl after reports in Dagblad van het Noorden.
The children themselves told the police that Van D. is their father, but as they are not registered in the Basic Persons Registration, this is not an established fact. The Public Prosecutor therefore wants to test their DNA for certainty.
Online friends of Gerrit Jan van D. are shocked by the accusations that he kept his children trapped on a farm in Ruinerwold for nine years. They describe him as a nice man who was "good to his children" to newspaper AD. The Telegraaf found - now deleted - posts on Facebook and LinkedIn that indicate that son Jan visited Canada in 2015 and earlier this year, indicating that he maybe was not being held captive, according to the newspaper.
The 67-year-old father of six adult children kept concealed on a remote farm was ordered back into custody as the investigation into the case continues. The magistrate presiding over the case sent Gerritt Jan van D. back to jail for a 14-day period, which may be further extended at the court's discretion, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.
Gerrit Jan van D., a man found living with six of his children in a hidden space on a farm in Ruinerwold last week, recorded a series of religious videos in 2006. In these videos he speaks of a spiritual war that is not quite over, but that god declared to be 'won'. The Telegraaf discovered these videos and posted excerpts on its site.
In the past a school attendance officer from the municipality of Zwartewaterland investigated the family found living in complete isolation on a farm in Ruinerwold earlier this week. The truancy officer saw no reason to intervene at the time and concluded that te situation was "in order", mayor Eddy Bilder of Zwartwaterland said on Friday, De Stentor reports.
On Thursday the police arrested a second suspect in the investigation into the family found living in a hidden room on a farm in Ruinerwold. The suspect is the father of the family, 67-year-old Gert Jan van D. He is suspected of depriving his six children of their physical freedom, and assault by harming the health of others, the Drenthe police announced.