The mystery surrounding a Dutch family who say they were locked away in a hidden room on a remote farm for nine years has deepened, with the son who first alerted police appearing to have been active on social media for months.

The 25-year-old man who escaped from the farmhouse near Ruinerwold, a village in the northern province of Drenthe, and raised the alarm at a local pub, has been identified by Dutch media as Jan Zon van Dorsten.

He has been linked to several social media accounts, including an Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook profile, where he's regularly posted photos and status updates since June 6.

Jan's most recent post showed a blue, sunny sky. Photo / via Facebook
Jan's most recent post showed a blue, sunny sky. Photo / via Facebook

"You know that work is inspiring and going really well when you still can't leave it alone at 3am Sunday," one post from August 18 read, alongside a selfie of a long-haired, bearded man working on a laptop.


Other posts on the Facebook page included links to Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg's 'How Dare You' speech at the UN and a photo of the Fridays For Future climate protests in Sydney.

The most recent photo, posted on Saturday, was of tree branches bathed in sunlight.

The week before, three photos were posted of sites in Ruinerwold at night.

Jan is not accused of doing anything wrong.

According to the account, Jan moved to Meppel, a town about 6 kilometres from Ruinerwold, in 2005. He then relocated to Ruinerwold in 2010, about the time he claims to have been locked away.

On June 6 this year, he posted that he'd started a new job at Creconat, a local timber company owned by Josef B, the 58-year-old handyman who was living at the farm where the family was found. Josef B was arrested by police on Tuesday and will appear before a magistrate on Thursday.

Just one photo had been posted to Jan's purported Instagram account in two years — a Banksy artwork in New York shared in 2017 — while on Twitter he shared more photos of trees, saying in one tweet "your creative mind will explode with the countless creative possibilities that a tree provides".

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His LinkedIn profile says he enjoys "creative trade and pleasant work at Creconat".

It begins: "Sit down because I have a lot to tell you. A story that won't bore you … Fancy?"

The 25-year-old states that his mother passed away in 2004 and "every day we are happy to take care of Dad".

However internet sleuths have pointed out that it's possible to change the date on which social media posts have been made.

On Wednesday, the public prosecutor said the 58-year-old, named as Josef B, will be brought before a magistrate on Thursday. He is suspected of being involved in "illegal deprivation of liberty and prejudicing the health of others."

Dutch police have launched a "large-scale investigation team" to look into the family's claims.

This was simply captioned 'Ruinerwold'. Photo / via Facebook
This was simply captioned 'Ruinerwold'. Photo / via Facebook

None of the six family members — a father and his five children aged between 18 and 25 — were registered in the town and testing is being carried out to determine their exact ages, officers said.

"At this moment it is unclear whether they stayed there voluntarily. These people may have been staying on the premises since 2010," a police statement said.

This photo was captioned 'reformed church in the dark'. Photo / via Facebook
This photo was captioned 'reformed church in the dark'. Photo / via Facebook

"We understand that everyone still had many questions. We have those too."

Local mayor Roger de Groot said it was believed the children's mother had died before the family moved to Ruinerwold.

"I've never seen anything like it," he said.

Earlier, police said the role that Josef B played in their alleged confinement is yet to be investigated.


"We do not yet know what the relationship is with the other people. This is part of our research. He is locked in for interrogation and is still detained," police said.

The owner of the farm, identified by local media as 66-year-old Alida ten Oever, said Josef was a reliable tenant who always paid rent.

This post read 'where was this picture taken?' Photo / via Facebook
This post read 'where was this picture taken?' Photo / via Facebook

"It was always delivered on time. I am really amazed to hear all this … I have never seen anything wrong there," she told De Telegraaf.

A local resident told reporters the handyman was "so sharp" but very protective of what was inside the home.

"You only had to get close to the yard and he already sent you away. He kept an eye on everything with binoculars."

Another neighbour said they sensed that something was wrong inside the home surrounded by security cameras and guarded by a large fence, but didn't know what it was.


The local postman said he had never once delivered any mail to the home.

"It's actually pretty strange, now I come to think about it," he told Algemeen Dagblad news website.