London, April 29 : Elisabeth Fritzl, the Austrian woman who was held prisoner in a dungeon for almost 24 years by her father and gave birth to seven of his children, looked like an albino "apparition" starved of sunlight, according to police.
Elisabeth, now 42, was taken as a prisoner at the tender age of 15. Since then her monstrous father Josef Fritzl held her captive and repeatedly raped her in the dark cellar.
Police picked up Elisabeth and her father on April 26 close to the Amstetten hospital after they received a tip-off.
She is having urgent hospital treatment along with the three children imprisoned with her, who were fathered by Josef.
But the freshness of her face has been replaced by ghastly white skin and hair.
"She has been so starved of sunlight that her skin and hair were pure white and she had to shield her eyes from the light. She has been left badly malnourished and is in obvious need of medical and psychiatric treatment," The Sun quoted an officer, as saying.
"Just talking to police and reliving her terrible existence has been an unspeakable ordeal for her. It may take months and years for her to recover as she tries to help us piece together more than two lost decades," the officer added.
Investigation chief Det Insp Franz Polzer said Elisabeth looked "a lot older" than her years when she staggered from the lair in Amstetten, Austria.
"She is very pale, extremely weak and very thin," he added.
A British expert said Elisabeth could have "the bones of an 80-year-old".
Chris Moran, professor of orthopaedics at Nottingham University Hospital, said: "Sunlight is absolutely essential for bone growth. Without Vitamin D bones in adults are prone to fracture. They would fracture with a fall."
Elisabeth was held captive by 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.