Kampusch's kidnapper acted alone - probe

2013-04-15 17:25
Natascha Kampusch. (AFP)

Natascha Kampusch. (AFP)

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Vienna - The man who kidnapped Austrian Natascha Kampusch, in a case that made headlines worldwide in 2006, acted alone, a new international probe revealed on Monday.

The probe, compiled over nine months with help from the FBI and German investigators, was meant to lay to rest repeated allegations over the years that Kampusch's abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil, had an accomplice.

"The evaluation concluded that it was highly likely Wolfgang Priklopil carried out the kidnapping alone," Joerg Ziercke, president of the German criminal police BKA, said on Monday as he presented the report, commissioned last year by the Austrian parliament.

The results "clearly point to the lone perpetrator theory", he added.

Some of the details of the report were leaked over the weekend.

Kampusch, who was kidnapped aged 10 and kept prisoner in a cellar for eight years before she managed to escape in 2006, has always maintained Priklopil acted alone.

DNA samples taken from the house in Strasshof, just outside Vienna, where she was held captive also turned up no other suspect, Ziercke said on Monday.

A young witness of the kidnapping had initially spoken of two men and early comments by Kampusch also contributed to the confusion.

Priklopil himself committed suicide on the night that Kampusch escaped by throwing himself under a train.

Suspected murder

Theories he may have been murdered were also debunked by the report, as were supposed links he had to prostitution or child pornography rings.

The latter claims "could not be established, despite extensive investigations," said Ziercke.

Austrian police have repeatedly come under fire for failing to follow up on certain leads following Kampusch's disappearance, and Ziercke highlighted several mistakes in the investigation as well as instances of "misjudgment".

The evaluation commission said it questioned 84 people but neither Kampusch, now 25, nor Ernst Holzapfel, a close friend of Priklopil, who saw him shortly before his death and who has also at times been a suspect.

Ziercke said the existing information in the case files made this unnecessary.

The probe included four experts from the BKA and the US FBI, alongside investigators from the Austrian justice and interior ministries.

Read more on:    fbi  |  austria  |  abductions

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