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Austrian had seven children by daughter locked in cellar: police

VIENNA (AFP) — Austrian police on Sunday arrested a 73-year-old man accused of locking up his daughter in his cellar for 24 years and fathering seven children with her.

A prosecution spokesman said Elisabeth Fritzl, 42, had accused her father, Josef, of "massive crimes". DNA tests are being conducted on the woman and six surviving children.

It is the third time in recent years that Austria has been stunned by tales of children locked away by parents or adults they know.

According to police, Elisabeth Fritzl told investigators her father put her to sleep with an anaesthetic on August 28, 1984, handcuffing her in a locked basement.

Officially, she was declared a missing person, with Interpol opening an investigation.

A letter was sent to her parents asking that they stop searching for her and local authorities concluded she had been seized by a religious sect.

She told police that she spent years imprisoned in an underground chamber beneath the family home near the eastern town of Amstetten.

Elisabeth Fritzl told detectives she was "regularly abused" by her father and their incestuous relationship produced seven children.

All the children appear to have been born in grim captivity but investigators said one child, a twin, died shortly after birth. Police said the body was subsequently burned.

Three boys and three girls, now aged between five and 20, survived. Josef Fritzl legally adopted two boys and one girl.

Josef Fritzl is said to have told his wife, Rosemarie, and local authorities that three babies had been left by Elisabeth on their doorstep, in different years.

Each delivery was accompanied by a letter purportedly signed by Elisabeth Fritzl saying she could not support the child because she already had others to care for.

The trio went to school as normal, seemingly unaware that their mother and three other siblings (a girl of 19, and boys at 18 and five) were trapped underground.

According to ORF national television, the mother and five children are now in hospital. All are being treated by a team of psychologists. Reports said the mother was physically frail and badly disturbed by her ordeal.

Authorities were worried about the health of the mother and three of her children.

Yet neither neighbours nor social services appear to have had the slightest inkling. "They had a swimming pool in the garden, we would hear them laughing the three of them," said one neighbour.

Another backed up the story of the babies on the doorstep, adding: "(Rosemarie) always looked after the kids so well, taking them to school. We said 'it's incredible what she manages to do at her age'."

Police said the case only came to light after one of the girls, 19-year-old Kerstin, was admitted to hospital in a critical condition in mid-April.

Doctors stepped up efforts to find the mother, looking for background medical information, and Josef Fritzl brought his secret offspring into the family home.

He is said to have told his wife they suddenly re-appeared. Elisabeth Fritzl told investigators her mother knew nothing about the sexual abuse she had endured since the age of 11, some seven years before she was locked away.

Authorities found Elisabeth Fritzl and the three underground children on Saturday evening.

In a cell himself since Saturday night, Josef relented and gave police the security access codes to the basement on Sunday night.

Police found several rooms 170 centimetres (5.5 feet) high equipped with water and a television.

Josef Fritzl had been refusing to answer questions put by detectives, although Gerhard Sedlacek, a prosecution spokesman, said Elisabeth's accusations of kidnapping and incest are "credible".

Austria's most notable prior case was that of Natascha Kampusch, locked up by a man in the basement of a house for eight years before she escaped.

Kampusch was 10 when Wolfgang Priklopil abducted her on her way to school in 1998. The 44-year-old kidnapper killed himself hours after she fled, throwing himself under a train.

Three young girls were also locked up for seven years by their mentally ill mother near Linz.


Edited by mustang84

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I had heard about this horror returning home this evening from a family visit, over the radio on CNN news. That is utterly and appallingly disgusting. I hope that the monster that has done this to his once innocent daughter receives the ultimate punishment for his crimes. Since he has denied another individual life, it is justice that his own life be denied by the authorities. :nono:

Edited by YellowJacket894

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Heard about it on the news. That's disgusting. That piece of human filth should be raped in jail repeatedly then shot.

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That's awful.

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It's disgusting that someone can do something so horrible to their own child. He's better off rotting in prison. Maybe he'll see what it's like to be forcibly violated.

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Pictures of the cellar and the guy who did it can be seen at the following link.


That guy looks evil.

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