New Inquiry Into Austrian Abduction Kampusch Kidnapper May Have Had Accomplice

Wolfgang Priklopil, the man who abducted Natascha Kampusch when she was 10 and held her captive for over eight years, may not have been acting alone, the head of a committee investigating the case has told SPIEGEL. The kidnapper may have had help committing suicide after she fled in 2006 -- or may even have been killed. 
Natascha Kampusch receiving Austria's "Buchliebling 2011" prize last June for her book about her ordeal, "3,096 Days."

Natascha Kampusch receiving Austria's "Buchliebling 2011" prize last June for her book about her ordeal, "3,096 Days."

Foto: Herbert Pfarrhofer/ dpa

Investigations by an Austrian parliamentary committee have fuelled doubts about whether the man who kidnapped Natascha Kampusch  really committed suicide.

The official version of events is that Wolfgang Priklopil threw himself in front of a train on Aug. 23, 2006, shortly after Kampusch had fled from him after being held captive for more than eight years.

But the investigation by the Vienna commission, which is expected to publish its findings at the end of March, has reinforced the suspicion that Priklopil had not been acting on his own, and that someone helped him to commit suicide, or even killed him.

The second man could be an accomplice who was involved in the abduction. "From my point of view it is difficult to maintain the theory of a single perpetrator," the chairman of the committee, Werner Amon, told SPIEGEL. "For the first time we have all the Kampusch documents as well as all image and audio files, including material that the former investigating committee of the Interior Ministry didn't have access to."

Virtually Intact

Photos of Priklopil's corpse show a virtually intact body with a severed head. Experts say the body should have been torn apart if Kampusch's kidnapper had really been run over by a train. The railway worker who found the corpse was apparently never questioned, and no comprehensive autopsy was conducted.

And the supposed farewell letter that Priklopil started writing after his victim fled may not have been written by him. The only hand-written word in the letter, "Mama," could have been written by Priklopil's best friend. He is refusing to comment on that theory.

Amon, the committee chairman, stressed that he wasn't a believer in conspiracy theories. "But there is a thick dossier about omissions in the investigation. The whole truth must now come to light."

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