A Suicide Attempt, Then Cops Find a Captive Daughter
German 26-year-old, believed to be autistic, was likely held captive by mom 'for years'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2016 7:33 AM CDT
A "shocking" find in a German apartment.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A 54-year-old woman apparently despondent over being evicted may have tried to kill herself by throwing herself down a stairwell, reports NBC News. She survived, but German cops at the scene to enforce the eviction made a "shocking" discovery: a 26-year-old woman held in "inhumane conditions." "We believe that this is the tenant's daughter, who was in a physically run-down state and who had lived in there for a long time, maybe even for years," police rep Stefan Sonntag told a local news site, via Deutsche Welle. When the cops came to execute the eviction, the older woman leaped into the stairwell shaft from the second floor, per Sonntag. Police then entered her trash-filled, "squalid" apartment, per the AP, and noticed a locked door, which they busted open, the Guardian reports.

The woman behind that door wasn't terribly responsive and is believed to be autistic. "Communicating with her is very, very difficult," Sonntag tells the DPA news agency. One neighbor tells Deutsche Welle that he had never seen the younger woman, despite having lived next to the family for more than a decade, while another neighbor says she thinks the daughter, who made plenty of noise at night (including screaming and kicking walls), had been a prisoner for about five years. "One time, last year, she managed to get out of the apartment," that neighbor tells DPA. "When we saw her we didn't think there was anything unusual going on." Locals tell German media the younger woman's 15-year-old brother also lives there. The daughter was taken to a psychiatric hospital. The mother, meanwhile, who's in critical condition but expected to survive, may face unlawful imprisonment charges, cops say. (A Maryland couple was accused of locking away their autistic 22-year-old twins.)