London, April 28 : An Austrian woman has revealed to police that she was held prisoner in a dungeon for almost 24 years by her father, who allegedly repeatedly raped her and fathered seven children with her.
Lower Austria police said in a statement that the 42-year-old Elisabeth Fritzl, was held captive by her rapist dad Josef after he lied to relatives that she had run away.
Police said Elisabeth had, apparently under pressure, sent a letter every month after her disappearance, asking her parents not to search for her, while all the while being held by her father.
During questioning, she told police her father began sexually abusing her when she was 11, and then, on August 28, 1984, had sedated and handcuffed her, and locked her in a room in the cellar in the Lower Austrian town of Amstetten.
During the 24 years that she was kept captive, she said she was continually abused by her father and gave birth to seven children.
In 1996, she gave birth to twins but one died several days later because it was not appropriately cared for, reports The Sun.
Josef had then apparently removed the corpse from the cellar and burned it, the statement said.
According to the statement, Josef and his wife, Rosemarie, had told authorities they had found the children left outside their home in 1993, 1994 and 1997, each time with a note from the mother.
In the first letter, Elisabeth had apparently said she already had a daughter and son. In another letter, she said she had given birth to another son in December 2002, according to the statement.
The other three children were apparently held captive in the cellar with their mother.
Local police chief Franz Polzer said: "The total area of the hidden rooms was 80 square metres with four small bedrooms. The floor was uneven and on the walls were posters. Everything is very, very narrow."
He said of the imprisoned children: "When they came out yesterday with their mother, they saw the daylight for the first time in their lives."
Police picked up Elisabeth and her father on April 26 close to the Amstetten hospital after they received a tip-off.
According to the police statement, Josef had freed Elisabeth and two of her three children from the cellar, and had told his wife that she had come back to them.
The third child in the cellar, identified as 19-year-old Kerstin F, was found unconscious on April 19 in the apartment building where the grandparents live, along with a note from Elisabeth asking that she be taken care of.
She was then taken to hospital, where she is currently in a very serious condition.
Police said Elisabeth appeared "greatly disturbed" psychologically during questioning.
According to officers, Josef has been arrested but had not confessed.