Kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch may have had a second captor - reports
The mystery of a 10-year-old girl who was held captive in a basement for eight years has taken a disturbing twist as reports suggest she may have had a second captor who has gone uncaught.
Natascha Kampusch was abducted by Wolfgang Priklopil (44) she walked to school in Vienna, Austria in March 1998.
The computer technician and property developer kept her in a cellar beneath his garage for eight years, where he repeatedly raped and beat her, and instructed her to call him “master”.
One day in August 2006, while Priklopil was on the phone, Ms Kampusch managed to escape.
Just hours later, her abductor was found beheaded on a railway track in what was believed to be a suicide.
On learning of his death, Ms Kampusch reportedly cried and begged police to take her to the mortuary to see him, in what was described at the time as Stockholm syndrome.
She threw herself over Priklopil’s corpse and sobbed, and is reported to have bought the house she was trapped in and to have carried a photo of him in her purse ever since.
Now, a decade later, there have been new claims that Priklopil did not die by suicide, but was murdered.
The prominent German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that two coroners investigating the case believe Priklopil’s death was “not investigated to acceptable forensic standards” by police and that he may have died before the train hit him.
The coroners, Johann Missilwetz and Martin Grassberger, went on to dismiss the medical and legal reports of a suicide as “worthless”.
This has triggered suggestions that an accomplice may have helped Priklopil, and murdered him to keep his role secret.
This is backed by the only witness to the kidnapping, who in 1998 said she saw two men carry out the abduction.
After Ms Kampusch’s escape, police investigated whether Priklopil had an accomplice, but determined that he had worked alone.
However the only witness to the 1998 kidnapping maintains that she saw two men take Ms Kampusch captive.
In an interview with the Mail, Ischtar Akcan, who was 12 at the time, said: “I know there are two men. The second man remained in the driving seat the whole time. They saw me, too.
“They knew I was a witness. In all those years she was gone I feared they would come back for me.”
Although Ms Akcan gave a police statement, she claims police didn’t believe her, and repeatedly asked if she had made a mistake.
Since Ms Kampusch was freed in 2006, she has written a book and advised on a film about her case starring Irish actress Antonia Campbell-Hughes.
Now 28, Ms Kampusch lives in Vienna and has not publicly discussed any of the recent allegations about her kidnapping.