Natascha Kampusch: Austria report debunks theories

  • 15 April 2013
  • From the section Europe
Austrian kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch pictured in 2008
Image caption Ms Kampusch was kept in a basement less than 10 miles from her Vienna home

A new investigation into the kidnapping of Austrian girl Natascha Kampusch has debunked conspiracy theories, saying her captor "most likely" acted alone.

The inquiry was conducted over nine months involving US and German experts.

It concluded that Wolfgang Priklopil in all likelihood acted alone when he abducted the 10-year-old in 1998.

Ms Kampusch escaped from a windowless cell in the suburb of the capital, Vienna, in 2006. Priklopil committed suicide the same day.

DNA tests and the questioning of 113 witnesses had led to theories being discounted that Priklopil had accomplices, the report said.

Ms Kampusch, now 25, has said that she never saw anyone else during her time in captivity.

"Although the involvement of others in the kidnap cannot be completely ruled out, there is no objective proof this was the case and no leads could be found," read the report commissioned last year by the Austrian parliament.

However, the head of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany, Joerg Ziercke, said there was no definitive scientific proof as Priklopil was no longer alive.

Conspiracy theories abounded after a schoolgirl said that she had seen Ms Kampusch being forced into a vehicle by two men. Her subsequent statements contradicted her initial testimony. The girl later withdrew her statement entirely.

Mr Ziercke said that the girl had mistakenly identified the kidnapper's car for another, seen a little later, where there were indeed two men sat inside.

Priklopil's car and house in Strasshof were searched for DNA and evidence of further suspects but nothing was found, he said.

The death of the unemployed telecoms engineer was confirmed as suicide, after the report authors re-interviewed the driver of the train that he threw himself in front of.

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