Trial date scheduled for Austrian man who kept his daughter in a dungeon for 24 years

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Friday, January 23, 2009

The trial been scheduled for an Austrian man who admitted to keeping his daughter prisoner in a dungeon for 24 years and fathering 7 of her children. A court in Austria released a statement saying the trial is set to begin on March 16 and last one week.

Josef Fritzl, 73, allegedly began imprisoning and raping his daughter Elisabeth, now 42, on August 8, 1984. He lured her to the basement where she was locked in a room, handcuffed and drugged. He is charged with incest, false imprisonment, murder, rape and the enslavement. The murder charge stems from allegations that Fritzl murdered a twin of one of the children. He then disposed of the body by placing the corpse into a turned on oven, burning the body. Police say the child had died shortly after being born. Fritzl has pled guilty to all of the charges except murder.

Map highlighting location of Amstetten.
Image: Niko Hofinger.

Police became suspicious when a 19-year-old daughter, Kerstin, was taken to hospital with a mysterious life-threatening illness, and the family's medical records were checked. Police say that Elisabeth F. appeared to be "greatly disturbed" psychologically, and only agreed to talk after the authorities assured her that she would not have to have contact with her father, and that her children would be cared for. When authorities arrived at his home, Fritzl told police what he had done. Of the surviving six children, there are three boys and three girls, between 5 and 20 years old.

Fritzl was arrested on April 27, 2008, in his home in Amstetten and if convicted, he would spend the rest of his life behind bars. He is currently in a prison located in the Lower Austrian city of Sankt Pölten where he is awaiting trial.


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