Natascha Kampusch: Scarred kidnap survivor

2013-05-07 13:01
Natascha Kampusch looks on during the presentation of her book in a bookshop of Vienna. (File, AFP)

Natascha Kampusch looks on during the presentation of her book in a bookshop of Vienna. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


Amanda Berry's 911 call

2013-05-07 10:16

Three women who were missing for ten years were found locked in a house in Cleveland. Listen to their desperate 911 call and see pictures from their rescue here.VIEW

Vienna - The first words of the young Austrian woman who emerged in 2006 after eight years held captive in an underground bunker were eerily similar to those of Amanda Berry when she called police in Ohio on Monday.

"My name is Natascha Kampusch. You must have heard of my case," she told incredulous police more than 3 000 days since disappearing on her way to school.

"I'm Amanda Berry. I've been kidnapped. I've been missing for 10 years," said Berry, found on Monday with two others missing for years, according to a recording of her frantic 911 call.

In perhaps the most notorious case of its kind, unemployed telecoms engineer Wolfgang Priklopil grabbed Kampusch from a pavement in Vienna and bundled her into his van on 2 March 1998.

There he shut her in an underground room of less than 6m² he had constructed under his garage at his house in nearby Strasshof.

He told Kampusch that the doors and windows of her dungeon were booby trapped and that her family had forgotten about her.

Silent scream

Over the following years, he hit her repeatedly, gave her very little to eat - sometimes nothing for days on end - and forced himself upon her once she reached puberty.

"I never screamed... My body was unable to scream. It was a silent scream," Kampusch, now 25 years old, said earlier this year of her ordeal.

Taking advantage of a momentary lapse of concentration by Priklopil - he was talking on his mobile phone about selling the same white van he had kidnapped her with - Kampusch ran away on a summer's day in 2006.

Priklopil committed suicide by throwing himself under a suburban train the same day. He was 44 years old.

Just like Berry and her fellow prisoners Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight, Kampusch also emerged into a media storm, making headlines around the world.

She has since written a book about her experience, given several television interviews and earlier this year a movie, 3096 Days, named after the length of her imprisonment, was released.

Best friend

But Kampusch appears to have struggled to readjust to normal life, saying she has "grown apart" from her parents. She lives alone in Vienna with her pet fish and orchids, and likes watching crime series on TV.

Having missed out on an education, Kampusch worked to complete her school studies and began training to be a goldsmith, which she then abandoned.

In 2011, she opened a children's hospital in Sri Lanka, funded by the many donations she has received and money earned from her autobiography.

Her best friend, she said in an interview with German television this year watched by 4.7 million people, is her hairdresser.

"The time I am most happy is when I am sitting in the chair and she is doing my hair," she said in her tiny voice.

"I try to go about every day in a positive way, to deal with what happened to me," she said.

"A carefree youth is something I will never be able to get back again. What helps me now is to communicate with other people and that these people share with me experiences from their youth."

Dugard case

Kampusch has also spoken of her confused feelings about mummy's boy Priklopil, saying she cried when she heard he was dead.

"With my escape, I hadn't only freed myself of my tormentor. I'd also lost someone who was inevitably very close to me," she wrote in her book.

Kampusch said that Priklopil, "the man who beat me, locked me in his cellar and let me almost starve to death, wanted to be cuddled".

The women's discovery was also reminiscent of the case of Jaycee Dugard, who was abducted from her northern California home when she was 11 years old by convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido, and kept in captivity for 18 years before her 2009 rescue.

During that time she was repeatedly raped by her abductor and gave birth to two girls fathered by him.

Few details have been made publicly available about Monday's rescue of the three women but officials are expected to disclose more information in a news conference on Tuesday according to reports.

Read more on:    gina dejesus  |  amanda berry  |  us  |  abductions

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.