VIENNA: The man who kidnapped Austrian schoolgirl Natascha Kampusch in 1998 and held her in a secret cell under his house for eight years almost certainly acted alone, according to a report by special investigators including Americans and Germans.
Kampusch was snatched on her way to school at the age of 10 by Wolfgang Priklopil and held in a tiny windowless room under his garage until she escaped in 2006, causing a sensation in Austria and abroad.
Priklopil committed suicide.
The original investigation found there were no accomplices.
But theories of a second perpetrator and of a police cover-up to protect senior figures involved in a supposed child pornography ring persisted, and were partly supported by Kampusch’s father.
Last July, Austria’s parliament appointed a team of experts including members of the FBI and Germany’s BKA Federal Crime Office to check whether mistakes were made in investigating one of the country’s most notorious crimes.
“The evaluation showed that Wolfgang Priklopil almost certainly carried out the abduction alone,” BKA President Joerg Ziercke told a news conference in Vienna on Monday.
“No connections could be established between Wolfgang P. and any red-light, sado-masochist or paedophile scene, despite wide-ranging investigations,” the experts wrote in a 156-page report.
A film based on Kampusch’s autobiography, 3,096 Days, came out in February, showing her being starved and raped and occasionally let out of her 6-square-metre (65-square-foot) cell to sleep in Priklopil’s bed or go on an outing.