Austrian Dad Hides and Rapes His Daughter for 24 Years
An Austrian man, 73 years old, admitted that he had locked his daughter for 24 years in a basement, and have had incestuous relationship with her that gave birth to seven children, said the Austrian police.
A woman of 42 years old, told the police on Sunday that her father, Josef Fritzl, had taken her in 1984 in the cellar of the building where they lived in Amstetten, before he had drugged her and handcuffed her.
"(Josef Fritzl) said he had imprisoned his daughter for 24 years, he had seven children with her and that he had imprisoned them in the cellar too," said Franz Polzer from Reuters, head of the criminal investigation cell dealing with the case, in the province of Lower Austria.
Three children of Elisabeth Fritzl have lived all their lives trapped in the basement of the building with their mother. They have never seen the light of day nor received any education, said the police.
Authorities continued Monday to search the basement composed of several rooms, some of which do not exceed 1.70 m high, where it was possible to prepare food and wash clothes. According to the authorities of Amstetten, 130 km west of Vienna, the same cave included a padded cell.
Josef Fritzl, an electrician, had hidden the entrance to the cave behind a shelf filled with boxes and cans. He was the only one to know the electronic code to open the sliding door that closed the cave.
"HOUSE OF HORROR"
The Austrian press wondered Monday how the neighborhood had been ignoring for so long what was happening in this "house of horror". "It will not be possible to return to normal life after this," wrote the daily Der Standard in an editorial. "All countries must truly wonder what is wrong."
According to police, Josef's wife, Rosemarie, was unaware of what was happening. At the time of the disappearance of Elizabeth, her parents had received a letter saying they should not try to find her, suggesting that she had disappeared voluntarily.
Elisabeth gave birth to seven children, one of whom died shortly after birth, according to police. Three children, the youngest, have been abandoned with a letter explaining that their mother could not deal with them. All of them were picked up by Josef and his wife as adoptive children.
The two elder, aged 18 and 19 years and the youngest, aged five, were trapped with their mother since birth.
The case erupted when the eldest had fallen seriously ill and was hospitalized in Amstetten. The doctors then tryied to reach the mother for further information on the medical file of her daughter.
Josef then freed Elizabeth and the two other children living with her, explaining to his wife that their "disappeared" daughter had chosen to come back home.
After obtaining the assurance that she wouldn’t have any further contact with her father - who, she said, began to rape her at age 11 - Elisabeth agreed to a "comprehensive statement", said the police.
Rosemarie, Elizabeth and the children receive psychological support. DNA samples from all persons concerned have been made and will be analyzed.
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