Austrian police release details of arrest in incest case

April 30th, 2008 - 11:31 pm ICT by admin  

Vienna, April 30 (DPA) Austrian police Wednesday said investigations confirmed their theory that Josef Fritzl had acted alone when he imprisoned and raped his daughter for 24 years. They also released further details on how the incest case unravelled. Tipped off by an anonymous caller, police detained Elisabeth Fritzl, 42, and her 73-year-old father at a hospital in Amstetten, eastern Austria, Saturday.

Elisabeth then informed police that she had been held in dungeon underneath the family home for 24 years and repeatedly raped by Fritzl. The abuse resulted in seven pregnancies and six surviving children.

It was only then that police realized the “whole scope of the crime”, officials said.

Police had previously believed Elisabeth had gone missing in 1984, abandoned three infants at her father’s doorstep in the years that followed.

When she emerged Saturday, investigators initially thought she had returned to look after her daughter who was in a serious condition in hospital.

Her father had spread those stories to discourage a search for the daughter he is believed to have abused since she was 11 years old.

Police declined to comment on the details of the tip-off, but a high-ranking police official has said that someone with ties to the family may have had some knowledge. Police still believe Fritzl had no accomplices.

At a press conference held at a hotel near Amstetten police also described details of the dungeon. When entering the cellar, Fritzl had to cross five rooms to get to the entrance, a concrete-reinforced metal door which could only be opened with electronic code.

Police are investigating claims by Fritzl that in emergencies the door could have been forced open from the inside. They believe he had no help installing the door.

The investigations at Amstetten’s “house of horrors” would continue for at least another week, and probably take up to six months until all the details in the case were clarified, authorities said.

In a further development, a woman in Linz, northern Austria, claimed she had been raped by Fritzl in 1967. Police is also investigating an unsolved case of rape and murder dating back to 1986.

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