Details are gradually surfacing about Austria’s longest-held kidnap captive, now free, who lived literally underground for eight years. She managed to escape her cell beneath a house garage in the community of Strasshof, near Vienna. Natascha Kampusch, aged ten when she disappeared on her way to school in 1998, has been reunited with her family.
The authorities have named Wolfgang Priklopil as the prime kidnapping suspect; He was found dead under the wheels of a train after the young woman had broken out. Police say Kampusch’s mindset appears to conform with what is known as “Stockholm Syndrome”, a psychological condition in which long-held captives develop a bond with their captors.
The chief investigator on the case said: “We have a lot of proof,” such as a key that matches the car at the address. DNA sampling is also being done. Kampusch’s father, who separated from her mother before the kidnapping, said he was “incredibly relieved” at the news of her shock reappearance.
The 18-year-old was reunited with her mother today for the first time since 1998. The girl’s sister says her mother never gave up hope that Natascha was alive and would, some day, come back. Priklopil was questioned by police soon after Kampusch’s disappearance, ten years ago. They say her captor recently had even taken her on village outings with him.