Austria Appalled By Cellar Case

March 16th, 2009 - 11:02 pm ICT by GD  

Josef Fritzl faces trial and possibly life imprisonment on charges that he kept his daughter imprisoned over a period of 24 years, raping her three times a week and fathering her children, one of whom died due to lack of medical care. He burned the dead infant in an oven in the house while telling his wife that their daughter has run away.

But this was only the third of cases involving children help captive in Austria over years. Natascha Kampusch had escped from a dungeon eight years after she was taken hostage there.

David B, on the talking forum of Kurier Newspaper’s website says, “I can’t understand the authorities. Normally, you have to assume the worst when a person is reported missing - above all when both people have a close relationship to each other. Why didn’t the authorities examine the house properly?”

Another reader, Richard K states, “No one can tell me that nothing came to the attention of the authorities over 24 years … this case completely stinks.”

Petra Stuiber wrote to Austria’s Standard that the problem is that of a “very condition of a rich, content society”, not only the authorities. She added, “How is it possible that no one ever heard or saw anything? How can it be that no one ever asked questions? What does it say about neighbors, relatives and acquaintances, and not least about those people who had anything to do with the family in an official capacity, that the suspect could ‘deceive’ them all? The whole country must ask itself what is fundamentally going wrong.”

Spiegel Online from Germany’s newspaper said there were things that should have warned authorities in Fritzl’s case, also saying, “The community of Amstetten, including its population, should drown in shame. The neighbors are very thoroughly looking away.”

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