Austrian admits 24-year abuse of daughter in cellar

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by GSMiller, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. GSMiller macrumors 68000

    GSMiller

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    #1
    from Yahoo! News

    AMSTETTEN, Austria (Reuters) - A 73-year-old Austrian man has confessed to imprisoning his daughter in a windowless cellar for 24 years and fathering her seven children, police said on Monday.

    A 42-year-old woman had told police on Sunday that her father, Josef Fritzl, lured her into the basement of the block where they lived in the town of Amstetten in 1984 and drugged and handcuffed her before imprisoning her.

    "(Fritzl) has now said that he locked up his daughter for 24 years and that he alone fathered her seven children and that he locked them up in the cellar," Franz Polzer, head of the criminal investigations unit in the province of Lower Austria told Reuters by telephone.

    Three of Elisabeth Fritzl's children had been locked up since birth in the basement of the plain, grey building along with their mother and had never seen sunlight or received any education, police said.

    Austrian investigators were combing through the network of windowless, underground cells where Elisabeth and the children had been holed up.

    Some parts of the dungeon were no more than 1.70 meters (5 ft 6 in) high and officials in Amstetten said the basement labyrinth even contained a padded cell.

    Fritzl had hidden the entrance to the cell behind shelves and only he knew the secret code for the reinforced concrete door, said officials.

    The case unfolded when a 19-year-old girl -- the oldest of the three -- became seriously ill and was hospitalized, prompting doctors to appeal for the girl's mother to come forward to provide more details about her medical history.

    Fritzl then brought Elisabeth and her remaining two children out of the basement, telling his wife -- who thought their "missing" daughter had chosen to return home, police said.

    Elisabeth agreed to make a "comprehensive statement" detailing her ordeal to the police after receiving assurances she would have no further contact with her father, who she said abused her from the age of 11.

    Newspaper headlines called the case the "crime of a monster" and the "worst crime of all time." Media asked how authorities and residents of Amstetten, 130 km (80 miles) west of Vienna, could have failed to notice what was happening in the "horror house."

    SHAME

    The case was especially shocking because it was reminiscent of that of Austrian Natascha Kampusch who spent eight years locked up in a windowless cell before escaping in August 2006.

    "The community of Amstetten should drown in shame ... The neighbors are turning a blind eye," the Oesterreich newspaper wrote in an editorial.

    The daily Der Standard wrote: "The whole country must ask itself what is really, fundamentally going wrong."

    Police have said they believe Josef's wife Rosemarie had been unaware of what happened to her daughter when she disappeared in 1984 and it was assumed Elisabeth had left voluntarily when her parents received a letter from her saying they should not search for her.

    But all the while Elisabeth was being held in what Polzer described as a sophisticated network of chambers with facilities for sleeping, cooking and washing.

    Elisabeth gave birth to seven children, one of whom died shortly after being born, police said.

    Three of the children -- two girls and one boy -- were brought up by Josef and his wife after they were left on the doorstep where the couple lived. The first child was accompanied by a note from Elisabeth saying she was unable to care for the baby herself.

    Three others -- two boys and a girl --, including the two eldest aged 18 and 19, and the youngest, aged 5, had been locked up in the basement with their mother since birth.

    (Writing by Karin Strohecker; Editing by Charles Dick)

    ------------

    That's insane! I couldn't imagine doing that to someone, or having it done to me.
     
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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  3. redAPPLE macrumors 68030

    redAPPLE

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    #3
    this is not because the aussies still don't have the iPhone, right? :p
     
  4. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #4
    Austria.
     
  5. riscy macrumors 6502a

    riscy

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    #5
    I saw this story on CNN and found it hard to believe - 24 years!!! 7 kids - the logistics of keeping that hidden, the kids health etc (not that he would have been concerned).

    Human nature never fails to astonish me.
     
  6. ergdegdeg Moderator emeritus

    ergdegdeg

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    #6
    Kind of suprising, this is the second case of a man imprisoning a girl in Austria in 2 years.
    In fall 2006, a man was found to have kidnapped and hidden a girl for 8 years, I believe. She was not his daughter, just some random girl, though. He made her live in a tiny "dungeon" under the garden with a TV and radio.
     
  7. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #7
    There can be no punishment to fit such a horrible crime. WTF is wrong with people?! :mad:
     
  8. redAPPLE macrumors 68030

    redAPPLE

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    #8
    course i knew that. was just kiddin'.

    the way i read it, the "mother" = "grandmother" didn't notice anything... how did that happen? she must have had head issues to not notice that.

    a reinforced concrete door and the wife didn't notice a thing?

    it is the wife who is behind all this...
     
  9. ergdegdeg Moderator emeritus

    ergdegdeg

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    #9
    Plus, she raised three of the kids. Who raises kids without knowing where they "come from"?
     
  10. iFizz macrumors regular

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    #10
    This makes me sick...
    I wonder how many cases of this exist and aren't reported. :mad:
     
  11. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    #11
    reading the article... it says that they were 'found' on the doorstep with a note from the 'runaway daughter' who said that she couldn't raise them herself.
     
  12. redAPPLE macrumors 68030

    redAPPLE

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    #12
    she might be a nice lady and all, but it does sound fishy...
     
  13. ergdegdeg Moderator emeritus

    ergdegdeg

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    #13
    Oh, alright. I didn't read the article, because it's all over the news here. But didn't hear of that.
     
  14. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    That really does sound like the most horrendous crime. It's crueler than murder, really. None of these people were educated, and they sat in a windowless dungeon for decades. The oldest daughter (19 years) has never seen light, and was never educated. She has probably never even watched TV or listened to the radio or music, and has no connection to anything real in this world. Their lives, personality, education, and likely their intelligence (as they've never really had any chance whatsoever of applying thought, or applying the few things they learnt), are all unfixable and untreatable.

    Hang this man.
     
  15. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

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    #15
    I can't even begin to comprehend how these people could start a new life, utterly horrific. Just hope somehow they can craft a happy future.
     
  16. GSMiller thread starter macrumors 68000

    GSMiller

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    #16
    Yeah those kids' lives are pretty much ruined, as is the daughters.
     
  17. DarkHeraldMage macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #17
    This is just horrendous. I can't imagine such a situation. I truly hope that the daughter, as well as the children, are all able to get away from that man forever and able to catch up on what's been deprived from their lives for so long, or in the case of the children - forever.

    On that note, I wonder how much adjustment will be needed for the kids. Never seen sunlight or been exposed to natural air? There's bound to be problems there when they've been brought out. I hope the process of acclimating to life in the outside world isn't too harsh for them, though I'm sure the community will be helping out in big ways.
     
  18. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #18
    Are the kids actually the offspring of this woman and her father?

    I read this story this morning and I'm still shocked/disgusted/horrified at this whole situation. Clearly the father has mental issues, before he gets killed I hope we find out why he did this.
     
  19. DarkHeraldMage macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #19
    "Mental issues" can only be used to a certain extent. For 24 years this man obviously functioned in society and upheld a marriage and raised his kids/grandkids with his wife. As is apparent, nobody suspected a thing, even his wife. This just goes more towards the theory of "sadistic genius" as opposed to "mentally unstable". He's obviously crazy, but not in the way it sounds like you're implying.
     
  20. Piarco macrumors 68030

    Piarco

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    On a psychological basis, the two older children who are well into their late teens, are never going to be able to adjust to something we would consider a "normal" life. Due to their captivity there is so much they wouldn't have learnt - social interaction, spacial awareness etc and it's too late for them to learn it. That developmental window ended a long time ago. There may be hope for the 5 year old who was never allowed out, but they may still have long term behavioural issues. A truly horrendous case.
     
  21. kwood macrumors 6502a

    kwood

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    #21
    You can bet that this pig also abused the children in this case as well (the ones he fathered through his daughter). This is a tragic story I can't fathom how these people will be able to function in society.
     
  22. ergdegdeg Moderator emeritus

    ergdegdeg

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    #22
    Pic of the father, in case you haven't seen it yet.
     

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  23. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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  24. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #24
    I just wish the BBC would change their frontpage!
    Every time I go check some news he stares at me.

    It is just such a godawful horror story.
    Just… so… dark. :(
     
  25. iFizz macrumors regular

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    #25
    I don't care what he looks like. He could look like Brad Pitt and I'd still say cut his w#nker off!
     

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