Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

The Dungeon of Amstetten

Josef Fritzl owned a large, non-descript suburban house in Amstetten, Austria. But his cellar was allegedly a dungeon for his daughter Elisabeth. According to police and press acounts, he not only kept her imprisoned there for 24 years but fathered seven children with her. One child of this incestuous union apparentely died in infancy and Fritzl disposed of the body in the furnace. The horrific details — including the fact tenants through the years at the Fritzl home were never aware that a woman was being kept prisoner right next to them — became one of the biggest global tabloid stories of the year. Fritzl, 73, is expected to go on trial in 2009 on charges of rape, false imprisonment, slavery and murder. Authorities contend that the infant who perished may have survived if Fritzl had sought medical care. His daughter Elisabeth is now 42 years old. She, her surviving children (three of whom lived in the cellar; three in the upper floors) and her mother are undergoing counseling.