Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Austrian police are now looking into possible links between an unsolved murder case and the man who held his daughter captive in a cellar for 24 years.

Josef Fritzl's wife owned property at a lake in Upper Austria where the body of a 17-year-old girl was found 22 years ago.

The 73-year-old confessed to sexually abusing his daughter and fathering seven children by her, but is now refusing to answer police questions.

Austrians are still reeling from the news, with the Chancellor now launching a campaign to save his country from being branded as land of the dungeons.

In the midst of the horror surrounding the incest case in Austria, the Fritzl family took time to celebrate the birthday of one of the seven children being treated in hospital.

Two of the children who lived in the cellar have now been reunited with three other siblings who were raised by Josef Fritzl and his wife, Rosemary.

Dr Berthold Kepplinger is the director of the psychiatric clinic in Amstetten.

"Yesterday we even arranged a small improvised birthday celebration for the 12-year-old with a birthday cake and everyone was thrilled," he said.

Nineteen-year-old Kerstin Fritzl is still in a coma in intensive care, but doctors say her condition has stabilised.

Dr Kepplinger says the other children are doing well and talk a lot, which he says is normal for people who have not seen each other for so long.

"The health of the members of the family, their physical condition, is relatively good considering the circumstances," he said.

"But of course one must differentiate between those who led a normal life outside and those who are living in imprisonment for up to 24 years."

Murder link

Police are now looking into possible links between a 22-year-old unsolved murder case and Josef Fritzl.

The body of 17-year-old Martina Posch was found tied up on the shores of the Upper Austrian lake of Mondsee in 1986.

Fritzl's wife owned a property at the lake and police suspect he may have been there at the time of the killing.

Upper Austria Police Chief Alois Lissl says they have now widened their investigation.

"Twenty-two years ago the murder occurred and exactly at that time, Fritzl and his wife had a guest house at the opposite shore of the lake, and there could actually be a connection," he said.

Police are also appealing for people who lived in Amstetten to come forward with any information.

But at press conferences they are still fielding questions about how Fritzl managed to lock up his children for so long undetected.

The head of security for Lower Austria, Franz Prucher, says he does not blame local authorities for failing to discover the case earlier.

"Whether responsibility should have been taken by someone cannot be answered," he said.

"Presently I don't see that anyone specifically was at fault. The main person responsible for these shocking offences is, of course, the suspect."

There were similar criticisms when Natascha Kampusch escaped two years ago after being kidnapped and held in a cellar for eight years.

Both cases shocked the nation and tarnished its image overseas.

The chancellor, Alfred Gusenbauer, now plans to launch a public relations campaign and insists this is an isolated case.

"There is no Amstetten case, there is no Austrian case, only a lone criminal involved here who undertook an incomprehensible act of violence," he said.

However some commentators, which say the country never dealt with its Nazi past, is inherently secretive and ignores personal tragedies.

Frtizl faces up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted of raping his daughter.

Officials are still considering whether to charge him with murder through failure to act in connection to the death of one of the infants.

Adapted from a story first aired on The World Today, May 1.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Dad Confesses to Holding Daughter Captive 24 years
By VERONIKA OLEKSYN and WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writers

AMSTETTEN, Austria - A man has confessed to imprisoning his daughter for 24 years in a windowless cell with a soundproofed door and fathering seven children with her including three who "never saw sunlight," police said Monday.

Josef Fritzl, now 73, also told investigators that he tossed the body of one of the children in an incinerator when the infant died shortly after birth, said Franz Polzer, head of the Lower Austrian Bureau of Criminal Affairs.
"We are being confronted with an unfathomable crime," Interior Minister Guenther Platter said.
The daughter, who is now 42, had been missing since 1984 and was found by police in the town of Amstetten on Saturday evening after police received a tip. She and the children have been placed under psychiatric care in an undisclosed location.
Authorities on Monday released several photos showing parts of the cramped basement cell, with a small bathroom and a narrow passageway leading to a tiny bedroom. Investigators said an electronic keyless-entry system apparently kept the daughter from escaping from the cell, which was made of solid reinforced concrete.
After initially withholding Friztl's full name, police released it along with a photograph at a news conference Monday. Fritzl's identity was widely reported by media in Austria and elsewhere in Europe. He briefly appeared in court Monday in the city of St. Poelten, where he was to be held in pre-trial detention.
"He admitted that he locked his daughter, who was 18 at the time, in the cellar, that he repeatedly had sex with her, and that he is the father of her seven children," Polzer told The Associated Press.
Three of the surviving children lived with the grandparents and were registered with authorities. The other three — aged 19, 18 and 5 — were confined during their entire lives to the darkness of their cell, Polzer said.
Hans-Heinz Lenze, a senior local official, said the suspect's wife apparently had "no idea" of what went on and was devastated.
"You have to imagine that this woman's world fell apart," he said.
Austrians — still scandalized by a 2006 case involving a young woman who was kidnapped and imprisoned in a basement cell outside Vienna for more than eight years — expressed disbelief at the latest case.
"The entire nation must ask itself just what is fundamentally going wrong," the newspaper Der Standard said Monday in a commentary.
Guenter Pramreiter, who owns a bakery just down the street, told The Associated Press that the suspect and his wife would regularly buy bread and rolls, though never in large quantities.
"They appeared normal, just like any other family," Pramreiter said. "I'm totally shocked, this was next door. It's terrible."
The case unfolded after a gravely ill teenager was found unconscious on April 19 in the building where her grandparents live, and taken to a hospital in the town of Amstetten, about 75 miles west of Vienna. Authorities publicly appealed for the child's mother to come forward to help diagnose the young woman's condition.
After receiving a tip, police picked up the 42-year-old woman — whom authorities identified as Elisabeth F. — and her father on Saturday close to the hospital.
Police said she appeared "greatly disturbed" during questioning. She agreed to talk only after authorities assured her she would no longer have to have contact with her father and that her children would be cared for.
On Sunday evening, police said investigators had found the area where Elisabeth and three of the children were held captive. Investigators said the rooms were at most 5 feet 6 inches feet high. The area had a TV and small hot plates for cooking.
In a chronology of events outlined in a police statement, authorities said Elisabeth told them her father began sexually abusing her when she was 11. She told police that some years later in 1984, he sedated her, handcuffed her and locked her in the cellar.
Police said a letter written by Elisabeth had apparently surfaced a month after her disappearance, asking her parents not to search for her.
The Austria Press Agency reported that the surviving children are three boys and three girls. DNA tests were expected to determine whether Fritzl is the father.
Sunday's developments recalled another case that shocked Austrians in the summer of 2006, when a young woman escaped after being largely confined to a tiny underground dungeon in a quiet Vienna suburb for more than eight years.
Natascha Kampusch was 10 years old when she was kidnapped in Vienna on her way to school in March 1998. Her abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil, threw himself in front of a train just hours after her dramatic escape.
Kampusch, now 20, issued a statement Monday saying she wanted to contact Elisabeth to offer emotional and financial help.
Associated Press Writer William J. Kole reported from Vienna.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

SOS. HELP BRUNO. Blog Solidario

The boy in this photo is Bruno Alberto Gentiletti. He disappeared on March 2, 1997 in Rosario's resort called La Florida when he was 9 years old (See first photo).

Bruno has green greyish eyes, chestnut-colored hair, white skin and a scar located in the right scapula. He was born on June 18, 1988 in Las Rosas, Santa Fe, Argentina.

Today Bruno is 19 years old. His family did a study of progression of age at the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Bruno would look like the young man in the second photo now.

We believe that you can help us find him. So I ask you to send an email with the information and/or the address of this blog to all your friends and acquaintances, in this country and around the world, so that in turn, they can do the same.

Like Bruno, there are thousands of children who have been denied the right to grow up with their families and they all deserve that an effort be made to find them.
Thank you for YOUR HELP!!!

Marisa Olguín ( Bruno’s Mother)
Juan de Garay 867 - Las Rosas - Santa Fe - Argentina
Tel.: 03471-454212