Austrian Incest Nightmare: Father Confesses to Horrific Crime
He held his daughter prisoner and abused her for decades. In the most spectacular kidnapping and incest case in Austrian history, a man has confessed to having held his daughter hostage for 24 years and siring seven children with her.
Josef F. is said to have kept his daughter and the children they had together in a windowless basement dungeon.
With a confession now in hand, Polzer told the media that investigators were also looking at other factors in the case which might implicate other people. Who provided for the kidnapping victims? he asked. How were the infants in the basement cared for?
Three of the children lived upstairs with F. and his wife, though his wife says she knew nothing about the incest because of an elaborate story Josef F. had spun. The other three children were forced to live with their mother in the windowless cellar, which had apparently been laid out at the time the home was built. The complex had a floor area of 80 square meters (about 860 square feet) and included a kitchen, several sleeping areas, a bathroom and a padded cell.
"We are confronted with an unfathomable crime," Austrian Interior Minister GŁnther Platter said. Coming less than two years after another Austrian, Natascha Kampusch, escaped from a similar dungeon where she had been held for eight and a half years, many in the stunned country are asking how a crime like this could have happened again.
Following his arrest on Saturday, Josef F. is being held on remand, and a DNA test is expected to confirm whether he is the childrens' father. Meanwhile, 42-year-old Elisabeth F. and her children are being given psychiatric treatment.
Neither Josef F.'s wife, nor the three children living upstairs, have admitted to knowing about the dungeon. When F. took his daughter hostage he built an elaborate maze of lies, saying Elisabeth had run off to join a cult. He later placed three of their children at the door upstairs -- at least one with a note from their mother, claiming she had abandoned them and asking for help in raising them. Josef F. and his wife registered these children without local authorities detecting any foul play.
The three children who lived upstairs were in normal health, according to police.
Stay informed with our free news services:
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2008
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH
MORE FROM SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL
German PoliticsMerkel's Moves: Power Struggles in Berlin
World War IITruth and Reconciliation: Why the War Still Haunts Europe
EnergyGreen Power: The Future of Energy
European UnionUnited Europe: A Continental Project
Climate ChangeGlobal Warming: Curbing Carbon Before It's Too Late