The Amstetten monster: the story of a case that landed in the world

On April 26, 2008, a woman named Elisabeth arrived at a hospital in Austria to visit her nineteen-year-old daughter, who had suffered from multi-organ failure.

Faced with her obvious state of nervousness, she was questioned by doctors at the hospital, at which time the woman said that she had spent the past twenty years locked in her father’s basement, which raped him several times during this time and with whom he had conceived up to seven children (including the hospitalized daughter). This is the story of the case of the Amstetten monster.

Brief summary of the Anstetten case

The story of this case begins in August 1984. Around this time, eighteen-year-old Elisabeth Fritzl was drugged and locked up in a zoo by her father, Josef Fritzl. The zulo in question was in the basement of the family home, having been foresighted years earlier by the daughter’s parent.

Young Elisabeth was tied up for months, often raped by her own father. She was forced to write a note stating that she was leaving the house of her own free will and that she was in good health (pretending to have joined a cult), in order to justify her absence in front of her mother and in front of her. from the rest of society.

The shutdown lasted for years, during which time what would later be called the “Amstetten Monster” continually abusing her daughter by having up to seven children with her (One of which would die due to her refusal to receive medical attention) three of which remained with her mother and were often used to coerce the woman into agreeing to have sex.

None of the detainees would see the sunlight for all these years (in the case of the three children who remained with the mother, they only did so after their release), remaining in conditions of deprivation and verbal and physical abuse. . It was not until Elisabeth’s eldest daughter and her father, Kerstin, fell seriously ill when she was taken to hospital. This moment that would eventually bring the matter to light and free the woman and children, twenty years after Elisabeth was locked up.

The motivations of Josef Fritzl

Statements from the Amstetten monster and the psychologists who witnessed the case indicate that the subject’s main motivations for committing the act lie in the desire for power. Elisabeth was the most rebellious of her children, which made her choose her as an object of desire.

The subject used sexual violence as an element to dominate and subjugate the young woman. On top of that, the use of mental and physical violence from both her and her children and coercion to force her to do her will, as well as the addictive situation she subjected her to (is – he who once threatened their daughter to stop doing so) reflects this interest in securing the submission of women. Another aspect that shows that one of the main motivations of the subject was the power is found in the statements of the individual himself, who mentions that he wanted to have children with Elisabeth as a mechanism to dominate and make him less attractive for other men.

    Josef Fritzl links his actions, which he does not regret, to the experience of an abusive relationship with his mother, who physically and mentally abused him, and the time of his birth (corresponding to World War II and Nazism). According to the experts who analyzed her, this could have provoked a hatred towards her mother’s figure which would eventually lead to the desire for domination towards women and a remarkable lack of empathy.

    Elisabeth’s children

    During the twenty years she lived locked in the basement, the repeated rapes to which her father subjected her led Elisabeth to give birth to a total of seven children during her captivity.

    Three of them stayed all their lives with their mother, in the basement, without having any contact with the outside beyond what their mother and father-grandfather told them. One of them, Michael, died three days after his birth without receiving medical treatment (which is why Josef Fritzl’s charges include the murder). His body was cremated in the boiler by the Amstetten monster. The other three were brought to the surface, where they would be legally adopted by Elisabeth’s parents.

    The reason some were taken outside and others is not, according to Fritzl himself, that those who lived on the surface were the ones who cried the most and adapted to life the most. basement.

    It may be surprising that the adoption of the children did not arouse the suspicion of neighbors and parents, not even of Elizabeth’s own mother. However, the Amstetten monster had prepared the situation so that when the children appearedThese would arrive at such people’s homes with a letter in which it was faked that they were children whom Elizabeth had had sporadic relationships with and whom she could not care for.

    The role of Fritzl’s wife

    Rosemarie, Elisabeth’s mother and then wife of Josef Fritzl, was for some time investigated by police into the possibility that she was in collusion with her husband and knew of her daughter’s situation. However, she apparently did not know where her son was and what had happened to him.

    When he locked his daughter up, Josef Fritzl forced Elisabeth to write a letter in which she declared that she was leaving the house of her own free will and that she was safe. He also pointed out that this was not intended. As for her grandchildren, they came home like children Elisabeth could not support and whom she had asked them to bring up.

    Since the case was discovered, Rosemarie has not contacted her husband or visited him in prison., Being currently divorced from him. Today, he regularly visits his daughter and grandchildren.

    Psychological opinion

    The case characteristics might suggest that we are dealing with behaviors related to a certain type of mental disorder.. It should be noted that sometimes certain crimes may be committed in altered states of consciousness in which the subject is unaware of their actions due to an illness, such as schizophrenia. This would require a psychiatric internment, but depending on the situation, it could become non-criminally attributable.

    In order to determine the subject’s state and mental faculties, Fritzl underwent several sessions with a psychiatrist. The result of this examination reflects that the Amstetten monster does not suffer from any kind of mental pathology that obscures his ability to judge, being fully responsible and aware of his actions and the implications thereof.

    But still, if he was observed lacking in empathy and emotional connection, as well as sadistic sexual tendencies. All of this, along with the set of acts and statements featuring the same individual (the same one said he was born for rape), suggests the existence of psychopathy or sociopathy.

    Judges and Sentences

    The case of the Amstetten monster was brought up in March 2009. During the trial, Josef Fritzl was charged with kidnapping, rape, incest and slavery, as well as murder in connection with the death of one of the her children with Elisabeth, Michael.

    Initially, the defendant would dismiss the last two counts, but would eventually admit.

    The jury’s final verdict was of guilt on all charges, Sentencing the subject to life imprisonment in a psychiatric center.

    other crimes

    The imprisonment and systematic rape of his daughter for twenty years was not the only crime committed by Josef Fritzl. The so-called Amstetten monster had been accused and even jailed for rape in the 1960s and during his youth.

    Furthermore, she also kept her own mother locked up during her last years of life, Taking her prisoner and even covering the windows so that she could no longer see the sunlight.

    current events

    Josef Fritzl is currently serving a sentence in a Stein prison, apparently starting to show cognitive impairment which suggests the onset of the dementia.

    As for Elisabeth and her children, they have evolved positively over the years. While still in psychiatric treatment, the woman’s children (aged twenty to ten) are gradually adjusting to their new life and fortunately without major interference from the media.

    In Elisabeth’s case, her recovery is such that visits to the psychiatrist have been suggested to be spaced out, and she could apparently begin to bond emotionally with one of her bodyguards.

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