Monday, May 12, 2008

Sex dungeon wife quizzed again as freed Elisabeth Fritzl spends first Mother's Day with children snatched at birth

Detectives in Austria are to reinterview the wife of dungeon dad Josef Fritzl about her husband's double life.

Amstetten police want to understand why Rosemarie Fritzl was oblivious while her daughter gave birth to seven children by her father and lived underneath their home for 24 years.

Officers will ask if she ever heard screams or had suspicions when her husband made nocturnal food deliveries to the cellar. Mrs Fritzl, 69, is not being treated as a suspect, and had a nervous breakdown when she was told of the dungeon.

She already has a severe heart condition caused by years of stress from her domineering husband. Neighbours said she was devoted to the three "upstairs" children she adopted after her husband said Elisabeth had abandoned them. But many questioned how she could lived in apparent ignorance for so long.

Police chief Franz Polzer said: "We think Fritzl acted alone. But we can't rule out the possibility that someone was aware of what was going on downstairs.

"What woman would stay silent if she knew her husband had seven children with his daughter and was holding her prisoner in the cellar?"

Fritzl's three children who remained in the cellar are to be given Austrian citizenship, as they were not registered at birth. The eldest, Kerstin, 19, remains in a critical condition in an intensive care unit.

Yesterday, Rosemarie and Elisabeth celebrated their first Austrian Mothers' Day in 24 years.

More details have emerged about the reunion they had after Elisabeth, 42, was freed. She broke down in tears, telling her mother: "I can't believe I'm free - is it really you? I can't believe I'm out. "I didn't think I would ever see you again. It's all too much for me."

And she said of her father: "I don't ever want to see him again."

Officials at the jail holding Fritzl, 73, have given him a "heavy thug" as a cellmate so he does not attempt suicide.


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