Austrian teenager mourns captor's suicide

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Monday, August 28, 2006

An eighteen year old Austrian girl, who was held captive by a 44 year-old man in the basement of his house for eight years, said that she is mourning his suicide, which he committed after she escaped from him.

Natascha Kampusch, abducted on her way to school eight years ago, had been "part of [her captor's] life." Police and investigators, unable to find a single lead or tip of her whereabouts, had all but given up hope of finding her alive and well until last week, when Natascha fled from her captor, Wolfgang Priklopil, a telecoms technician after he left her cleaning his car to answer the telephone. Natascha's abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil, committed suicide hours after Natascha's escape by throwing himself in front of a train only minutes after he realized her escape.

After hearing of Priklopil's death, Kampusch wrote "..[Priklopil] was part of my life, that's why in a certain way I'm mourning him". Psychoanalysts believe Kampusch may be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological condition in which captives begin to feel empathy, and even affection, for their captors. Psychoanalysts are well represented in Vienna as Sigmund Freud, the founder of Psychoanalysis was Viennese. After eight years with her captor, Kampusch is spending time receiving care from psychologists at a secret location, away from the media and her parents. Natasha spoke at first but later became more reticent and reluctant to answer questions. A psychiatrist feared a "delayed trauma".

Kampusch's parents expressed their frustration on not being allowed to have access to their daughter. Nevertheless, psychiatric staff with the girl have said that Kampusch needs time to re-adjust to life in the outside world. In a letter to her parents, Kampush stated that they would have "...all the time in the world..." once she had become re-accustomed to the outside. Psychologists claim she may lead a normal future life but probably will require years of psychological therapy. Ludwig Koch, her father said, "Natascha is very thin, has very, very white skin, and patches on her whole body. I don't want to think where they come from." She may be suppressing physical or sexual abuse. Early on she had to call her captor "master" or "lord".