April 29, 2008
House Of Horrors: 24 year old crime
(if you dont feel like reading the whole thing, scroll down to the time line)
Austrian Josef Fritzl imprisoned his daughter for 24 years and fathered seven children with her.
The abused daughter told police her father began sexually abusing her at age 11. On August 8, 1984 -- weeks before she was reported missing -- her father enticed her into the basement, where he drugged her, put her in handcuffs, and locked her in a room, she told police.
She told police she gave birth to twins in 1996, but one of the babies died a few days later as a result of neglect, and Josef Fritzl removed the infant's body and burned it.
Elisabeth told police that only her father supplied her and her children with food and clothing, and that she did not think her mother, Rosemarie, knew anything about their situation.
Three of the children were kept underground in the cellar with their mother Kerstin 19, Stefan, 18, and Felix, 5.They never saw the light of day.
The other three lived upstairs with the family. The criminal made it look like his daughter had left them on the doorstep claiming she could not take care of them begging her parents to take them in.
The community viewed Josef Fritzl, a retired electrical engineer, as a loving grandfather who took his grandchildren in their time of need, never suspecting he was also their father!
Her mother Elisabeth begged Josef to take her to a hospital, which he did.
Josef told his wife that their missing daughter had dropped off ailing Kerstin on the doorstep with a note asking that they get her medical care.
Josef took her to the town's clinic with the note, but doctors needed more information to determine why the young woman was unconscious and having violent convulsions.
So they contacted police, who asked the local media to report on Kerstin's situation in an effort to find the missing mother.
Elisabeth and her two sons saw the reports on the television provided to them in their 100-square-foot living quarters, police spokesman Franz Polzer said, and "they desperately pleaded with their father so they could be taken (to the hospital)... (and) do something for the 19-year-old."
Josef Fritzl agreed, and took all three of the remaining captives out of the basement, explaining to Rosemarie and the rest of the family that Elisabeth had reappeared with her two children after an absence of 24 years.
He took them to the hospital and, at some point, authorities there realized something was wrong. Police picked up both Josef and Elisabeth on Saturday near the hospital and brought them into the station for questioning.
Josef would not talk to police but Elisabeth began to tell her story once she was convinced she would never have to see her father again, and that her children would be safe.
Time line of the event
1977: Elisabeth Fritzl claims she was first abused by her father Josef when she was 11 years old.
1984: Elisabeth is allegedly lured into the cellar of her house and drugged and handcuffed by her father. She is forced to write letters saying she has run away from home.
1988: Her first child, Kerstin, is born.
1989: Elisabeth gives birth to her first son, Stefan.
1993: A baby, nine-month-old Lisa, is left on the doorstep of the Fritzl house, with a letter asking Josef and his wife Rosemarie to look after her.
1994: Another child, Monika, arrives with another similar note and is adopted by the Fritzls.
1996: Elisabeth gives birth to twins, but one dies after three days. Josef allegedly burnt the body.
1997: Alexander, the surviving twin, is moved upstairs to join rest of family.
2003: Another letter from Elisabeth arrives saying she had a second son, Felix, the previous year. he is also raised in the cellar.
April 19: Kerstin is taken to hospital after falling serious ill, and doctors discover that her grandfather is in fact her father.
April 20-27: Josef releases Elisabeth along with Stefan and Felix and tells wife they have chosen to return home.
April 26: Police pick up Josef and Elisabeth near the Amstetten hospital where Kerstin is being treated.
April 27: Josef admits his guilt following Elisabeth's statement.
April 28: Police search the family's house and discover cramped cellar with special security door.
April 29: Josef Fritzl appears in court.