Children held captive: Previous infamous cases

2018-01-17 07:02


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Paris – The discovery of 13 malnourished children allegedly held captive by their parents in California has brought back memories of previous kidnapping horrors.

Here are some other infamous cases that have made global headlines in recent years:

Locked up by relatives

Britain: A Maoist cult leader, who brainwashed and raped followers in his London commune, kept his own daughter imprisoned for three decades before she escaped in 2013.

Aravindan Balakrishnan, 75, was jailed in 2016 for 23 years. His daughter Katy Morgan-Davies was aged 30 when she escaped, fearing death.

Austria: Elisabeth Fritzl was imprisoned and raped over 24 years by her father Josef Fritzl, who kept her in the cellar of their family home west of Vienna until 2008.

The case came to light when one of the seven children she bore became ill and had to be hospitalised.

Found guilty of murder for the death of one of Elisabeth's babies as well as incest, sequestration, grievous assault and 3 000 instances of rape, Josef Fritzl was jailed in 2009 for life.

Italy: Maria Monaco was set free in 2008 after being locked in by her family for 18 years. Police found her, aged 47, living in "horrendous hygiene conditions" in a rural home north of Naples.

She had been held since 1990 when her family learned she was pregnant and she refused to divulge the name of the father.

Japan: A couple was arrested in 2017 for imprisoning their daughter in Osaka for more than 15 years before she froze to death aged 33.

Yasutaka and Yukari Kakimoto admitted to locking their daughter in a small room from the age of around 16 or 17, saying she was mentally ill and violent. An autopsy showed she weighed about 19kg.


United States: Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped as an 11-year-old while on her way to school in South Lake Tahoe, California, in 1991.

She was repeatedly raped over 18 years by her abductor, Phillip Garrido, who was on parole and who fathered her two children.

Dugard was rescued in August 2009 after Garrido's parole officers became suspicious. He and his wife were jailed for life.

United States: Ariel Castro abducted three young women he raped over a decade at his Cleveland home before he was arrested in May 2013 after one of his victims escaped.

The women were aged between 14 and 20 when they were captured. Castro killed himself in prison at age 53, a month after he was sentenced to life in prison plus 1 000 years.

Austria: Natascha Kampusch was abducted at the age of 10 by Wolfgang Priklopil and kept prisoner in a cellar in a house outside Vienna for eight years before she managed to escape in 2006.

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

Japan: An unidentified 9-year-old schoolgirl was snatched in November 1990 and spent nine years trapped on the second floor of her abductor's home in Kashiwazaki, 250km north of Tokyo.

She was freed aged 19 after health officials were called to the house by the man's mother. The kidnapper was in 2003 sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Belgium: Paedophile Marc Dutroux abducted, raped and imprisoned six young girls between 1995 and 1996, murdering four of his victims.

He was jailed for life in 2004 without the possibility of parole.

Read more on:    child abuse  |  child abduction

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