Austrian Man Held Daughter Captive 24 Years

Locked up at 18, she gave birth to 7 babies in underground cellar
By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2008 2:32 PM CDT
Franz Polzer, head of the Lower Austrian Bureau of Criminal Affairs speaks at a news conference in Amstetten, Lower Austria, on Sunday, April 27, 2008.   (AP Photo/Helmut Stamberg)
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(Newser) – A 42-year-old Austrian woman missing since 1984 has been found—in her father’s cellar, where she says he kept her prisoner for 24 years. Elisabeth F. told police her father, Josef F., began sexually abusing her at age 11, and locked her in the cellar when she turned 18,  fathering her 7 children over the next two and a half decades. One child died days after birth because of improper care; Elisabeth says her father burned the corpse.

Josef has been arrested, police report. The surviving six children are ages 5 through 20, and one is currently hospitalized in serious condition. “They are being cared for individually,” say a police spokesman, “those between 12 and 16 years of age who grew up with their grandparents, and two boys who, when they came out yesterday with their mother, saw the daylight for the first time in their lives."