London, Sept 5 : Austrian incest fiend Josef Fritzl may face manslaughter charges following a breakthrough in the four-month investigation against him.
The 73-year-old retired engineer and property developer had imprisoned his daughter, Elisabeth, and fathered seven children with her during 24 years of sexual abuse, reports TimesOnline.
Fritzl kept Elisabeth, 42, in a dungeon in the cellar of his home in the town of Amstetten, where she gave birth to seven of his children. One of them - a twin boy, Michael - died three days after birth in 1996, and Fritzl burnt the body in a heating furnace.
Uptil now, prosecutors were unable to Fritzl with the child's manslaughter, because of the time that had elapsed and the absence of evidence, together with his children's refusal testify against him.
However, now a neonatologist - a medical expert specialising in the newborn - has said that Fritzl must have been aware that the baby was in a life-threatening condition and that his life might have been saved by a medical intervention.
The specialist's confidential report has been leaked to a local magazine.
According to News, the report says that the baby suffered from a "severe and life threatening condition" that must have been "obvious" even to a person without any medical knowledge.
The tot's symptoms included severe breathing difficulties that worsened rapidly and culminated with his death about 70 hours after birth.
Quoting the neonatologist's findings, News reported: "Josef Fritzl must have known that the child would die if he was not provided with adequate medical attention."
The findings, which are based on the testimony of Elisabeth Fritzl, could now be used to bring manslaughter charges against her father, with a maximum life sentence if he were convicted.
News revealed that Elisabeth told the expert that her father did not react to the baby's symptoms and ignored his breathing problems during several visits to the cellar after the baby was born.
According to News, Fritzl denied the accusations, saying that he had seen the baby for the first time only after the child had died. He was quoted as saying: "I only found out that I was father to twins when one of the children was already dead; my daughter Elisabeth then gave me Michael's body so I could burry it."