Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006

The Austrian Escapee

In 1998, 10-year-old Natascha Kampusch was abducted while walking home from school in Vienna, Austria. She was presumed dead when investigators failed to find her. But on Aug.23, Viennese police received a phone call from a woman that Kampusch, now 18, had just shown up on her doorstep. For more than 8 years, Kampusch had lived in a windowless cellar beneath a garage in Vienna. Her captor, Wolfgang Priklopil, 44, beat, starved and likely sexually abused Kampusch. Only in 2005 did he begin to take her out in public, but neighbors did not suspect foul play. Kampusch finally managed to escape while Priklopil was distracted with a phone call. She ran to a nearby house, where the owner recognized her name and called the police. Priklopil committed suicide hours later by jumping under a train.