Police in Germany are investigating a couple who reportedly kept their son at home in a village near the Bavarian town of Bayreuth for 30 years. The man, who is now 43, has rarely been seen since he stopped attending school at the age of 13. Police say he looked neglected but not underfed, and stress they may not press charges. The mother said "he didn't want to go out", and she had only wanted to protect him. The police were alerted to the mysterious case by a tip-off last month, and took the man from his home to hospital. He has not been identified because of strict German privacy laws.
They refused to speak of a "rescue", and said it was more likely to be a family tragedy than a criminal case.
"We do not know exactly since when the man lived there without regular contact with the outside world, nor do we know what the situation really looked like, for example, whether or not he had the opportunity to leave the premises," police spokesman Juergen Stadter said on Tuesday.
"Maybe the man himself wanted it that way," he added.
In a later briefing on Wednesday police said the evidence suggested the man had been able to move freely through the house, and had not been chained.
When the emergency services went to collect him, he was reportedly unwilling to leave.
"He obviously felt well protected there," said Mr Stadter.
The only documentation the police say they have found so far is about 30 years old, showing he attended primary school and then a comprehensive.
Paperwork dating back to when he was 13 appears to suggest that the school authorities deemed he was no longer fit to attend classes there, police said.
But the mother said in no way was he rescued.
"He just didn't want to go out", she said, adding that and she and her husband had never locked him in.
They had just wanted to protect him, she insisted, pointing out that he had been registered at the local residents' office.
The regional hospital in Bayreuth where he has been taken has said he is as well as can be expected "under the circumstances", without elaborating further.
He was being looked after by a specialised team of doctors, nurses and therapists, a spokesman said.
The hospital will try to determine whether he is ill or has mental health issues.
Questions are now being asked about how the man could have slipped through the net of youth, social and health services.