By SOPHIE MCCARRICK [email protected]
An elderly Dutchman was found by the GNR chained to a bed in his own home near Castro Marim on May 23, after his estranged daughter raised awareness of her father’s vacant behaviour.
The 72 year old Dutchman, Evert Reinout Van Der Linde, was allegedly held hostage for more than one year by a foreign couple, a German woman (63) and an Italian man (55), who were previously hired as care-givers of the elderly man who lived alone and had no family relatives in Portugal.
A spokesperson for the GNR told Lusa news agency that the alarm for the man’s disappearance was raised by his daughter, following an unusually long period of no communication with her, despite their “difficult relationship and distant bond”.
Upon investigation, when authorities approached the property and called out for the man, a “forced groan was heard” which was when the GNR went in and found the man handcuffed.
Although in a weak state, the elderly man informed authorities that his two assailants fed him just once a day and allowed him to drink water three times a day. He also said he had been held hostage by the couple for over a year.
Initially admitted to Faro Hospital, the man, who was said to be last seen weighing approximately 100 kilos, now weighs “no more than 50 kilos”, according to the GNR and is currently recovering at a health facility at a location that has not been revealed.
The suspects are accused of holding the man hostage in order to gain access to his assets, which included several apartments, over €150,000 and €2,500 worth of his retirement money each month, in addition to setting up home in his house.
Arrested and present in Faro Court on May 25, the foreign suspects were freed having to report twice a week to the Castro Marim GNR station. They are also prohibited from contacting the Dutchman and from returning to his property.
Speaking to the Dutch news agency RTL, Evert’s daughter said she now feared that the suspects would come after her father because they are free.
“I want my father transported back to Holland as soon as possible,” she concluded.
Due to an alleged build up of debts caused by the perpetrators, such as unpaid insurance policies, the victim is said to be liable for medical costs and is awaiting health examinations that will allow him to be transported by plane back to Holland.