Her father is arrested; she says he raped her, forced her to have children

April 27, MSNBC

VIENNA - A woman has told police she was held captive in a cellar for almost 24 years by her father and that she gave birth to at least six children after being repeatedly raped by him, police said.

Lower Austria police said in a statement Sunday that the 42-year-old woman, identified only as Elisabeth F., had been missing since Aug. 29, 1984. She was found by police in the town of Amstetten on Saturday evening following a tip.

Franz Polzer, head of the Lower Austrian Bureau of Criminal Affairs, told reporters that the 73-year-old father, identified in the statement as Josef F., had been taken into custody.

In a chronology of events outlined in the statement, police said a letter written by Elisabeth F. had apparently surfaced a month after her disappearance asking her parents not to search for her.

Police said that, during questioning, Elisabeth F. told them her father began sexually abusing her when she was 11. Police said she alleged that he sedated, handcuffed and locked her in a room in the cellar on Aug. 28, 1984, in the Lower Austrian town of Amstetten.

During the 24 years that followed, she said she was continually abused by her father and gave birth to six children, the statement said. In 1996, she said she gave birth to twins but one died several days later because it was not appropriately cared for.

Josef F. had then apparently removed the corpse from the cellar and burned it, the police statement said. It was not immediately clear if the twin who allegedly died was included in the police tally of the number of children.

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photo: An Austrian woman has told police that her father kept her in the cellar of this home in Amstetten for 24 years, raping her and forcing her to bear children (Helmut Stamberg / AP)