Man Imprisoned Daughter for 24 Years in Cellar

You've probably heard of this incredibly bizarre and sad story when it broke a couple of days ago: Josef Fritzl is an Austrian man who locked his daughter Elizabeth in a cellar beneath his house for 24 years and fathered 7 children with her.

All this time, Josef's wife (and Elizabeth's mom) lives upstairs not knowing that her daughter, whom she was told ran away to join a religious cult, was held captive.

What's even more bizarre is that three of Elizabeth (and Josef's) children were allowed to live in the house (they told the wife that Elizabeth couldn't keep the kids at the cult) and lived normal lives. Three more children (1 died shortly after birth) spent all of their lives in the cellar - and had never seen daylight before the police freed them.

Josef's crime was uncovered when one of his "dungeon" child was deathly ill and had to be taken to the hospital:

Psychiatrists believe he was obsessed with power and must have been insane to have kept them incarcerated for so long and to have managed to keep it a secret.

Elisabeth is said to be white-haired, mentally and physically frail and traumatised, while Kerstin, 19, is fighting for her life. It was Kerstin's collapse that prompted the discovery of the dungeon in the basement of Fritzl's home in Amstetten.

The teenager is in critical condition and in an artifically-induced coma after suffering from cramping fits caused by lack of oxygen. Like her mother, and her siblings, she had been forced to live in the windowless cellar for years.

Because she and two of her brothers were kept there their whole lives, they had never seen sunlight until they were released. [...]

Three other children - Lisa, 16, Monika, 14, and Alexander, 12 - were adopted and brought up by Josef and his wife Rosemarie, 78.

Leopold Etz, a regional police official, says Fritzl apparently chose which of the children would live upstairs with him and his wife according to whether they were "crybabies."


Wow so he is actually crazy to go with his psychopath looks. I have a feeling the wife was knowledgeable of the dungeon but had a case of 'learned helplessness', and just survived by turning off her will to persevere.

Or, she might've been a nutcase, too. Whatever the case may be, I'm having a hard time conjuring up a punishment to equal the crime.
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@ NiteWhite

That's what I can't wrap my head around! How can anyone be oblivious about the basement. But it maybe infact she was a participant in this or she truely didn't want to know. Either way this is just heartbreaking. I'm just glad they were found because what would have happened if that crazy guy died one day and those trapped in the dungeon had no way of knowing or how to get out!?
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Legit? Really? I would say he's insane, but to pull off a feat such as this, you'd have to know what you were doing. I just hope he doesn't get off on the insanity defense.
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I say this guy should either get the death penalty or, at the very least, life in prison. He has already caused the death of one child due to neglect - and ruined the lives of several other people.

If they turn out anything like the child found in a similar situation in the 60s (discovered in 1970), they'll probably be mentally handicapped and incapable of joining society. Reference:

In my opinion, 13 years of torture - or in this case - 24 years of torture - is worse than just killing someone. Adding rape of his own daughter to the charges should get him put away forever.

Here's Genie's story - and enough to convince you to agree with me about the death penalty:
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I can't imagine the psychological damage to that guy's daughter and their children. I can't help but hope that his stay in jail is similar to what he put her through.
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And the most jail time he can receive is 15 years if convicted? Just wrong. He should get 15 years chained in that basement, in the dark, at the least, with Bubba the Cornholer visiting him every day.
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This is in all the newspapers at the moment. He was an engineer or something and the place where they were kept had a huge cement door that hid it from the main basement. I don't think that the wife was as ignorant of it all as she claims though. The poor daughter had to give birth 7 times with no medical assistance.
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The wife had to know. The latest story I read says the basement addition was inspected by local authorities. It has been reported that she and the other children knew it was there, but Fritzl was such an authoritarian that they just obeyed him.

I believe she knew. She knew. She had to know. And she had to know he was abusing their daughter before this. She chose to turn a blind eye. She should be prosecuted.
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I have a question.

How -- exactly -- is this... "neat" ???

This is neat-o-rama, right? The blog of neat things?

It sure seems to be devolving.
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I agree with Persephone.
There are no words to describe the gut-churning awfulness of this whole situation.
And I don't believe it. There is no way the wife knew nothing for 24 years. That's some BIG TIME denial or she's just as evil as he is by doing nothing.

And the point of neatorama is not to be neato-o-happy-go-lucky-joy-joy. I think Alex (and all the other posters/writers/bloggers of the Neatorama community) want people to think and discuss and become aware.
You can't JUST be aware of the pleasant things.

But that's really beside the point.
I'd say what this bastard deserves beside my agreement with Persephone, but then I wouldn't be allowed on the Internet anymore.
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I doubt this "person" has a conscience or feels much of anything so what punishment is ever going to truly hurt him? That's the problem. We want him to hurt but is he really capable of feeling pain equivalent to that of his victims?

Sadly, I'm sure there have been and are others like this in other areas of the world.
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Depends on what you want the justice system to be: a system of rehabilitation, or a system of revenge.

Ah, Austria: The hills are alive...
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This all came to light due to the 19 year old being very sick.

Take a moment and think.

She's a 19 year old girl, the child of icest between grand father and daughter.

Do you think she somehow escaped the predations of that evil old man?

2nd generation incest?

What was she sick with?

My guess would be a home done abortion gone wrong.
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There is a word to describe it. Sexual abuse and rape. For 24 years. By a father, on his daughter. It's not "fathering" children. It's rape.

And it's horrific, and certainly not "neat."
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those austrians are going to insist that she encouraged her father and that it was consentual --- they are backwards and totally without compassion -- it is in their blood, unfortunately -- i heard about austrians who iron their underwear and they have spotless tidy homes at all times -- they have a whole different agenda than we do -- but most importantly i feel that mr. fritzl's has more crimes in his background -- his other children -- they need to be brought in and his dna could be matched with other unsolved crimes -- The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it --albert einstein --
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We live in a sick, sick, highly misogynist, pro-violence, and anti-woman world when locking a woman in a dungeon to be a sex slave to rape at will can be anyone's fantasy (sick or not).
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