Dungeon Takes Physical Toll on Austrian Kids

Stooped children hurt by lack of sun and health care, immunity weakened
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2008 4:32 AM CDT
Reporters crowd a news conference given by the police on the case of a daughter kept captive by her father for 24 years in Amstetten, Austria, on Tuesday, April 29, 2008.   (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
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(Newser) – Doctors have begun to tally the physical toll of a lifetime of imprisonment on the three Austrian children locked in a cellar by their grandfather/father Josef Fritzl. The children all have defective immune systems, are anemic and suffer from a vitamin D deficiency from their time in a 650-square-foot cellar. None had ever seen daylight, a doctor or a dentist before their release, reports the Times of London. The oldest, 19, has already lost most of her teeth.

While three of the six surviving children of Fritzl, 73, and his daughter Elisabeth were brought up as normal children by Fritzl and his wife, the other three were confined in spaces hardly higher than 5 feet, and now suffer from stooped posture. Their only contact with the outside world was via television that was on night and day. The children are now being treated at a psychiatric institute.