Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Daughter-Dungeon of Joseph Fritzl

Healing

The three children and Elisabeth face obvious physical and emotional challenges.

Kerstin was put into a medically induced coma, from which she has since emerged, and is doing better. She and her brothers were malnourished and had gone without exercise in the cramped basement. Stefan may have permanent spinal problems due to the cramped quarters.

They were raised without normal socialization outside the bounds of their disturbed family and will need to learn how to deal with others. Even getting used to large spaces, natural lights, freedom and unconstrained movement will be a cognitive jump. And the life the man both father and grandfather forced upon them may well mean that they will experience posttraumatic stress disorder.

The three children who Rosemarie and her husband had been rearing joined their lost mother and siblings in a psychiatric clinic; later all moved into an apartment for help in adjusting as the secrets of this tragedy surfaced.

Fritzl initially confessed to the police, but is now less cooperative. He's receiving hate mail — as is his wife, who many in the public blame for not better recognizing her husband's dangerous impulses and protecting her daughter. Rosemarie had been staying with Elisabeth and the children in the apartment provided by authorities — but Elisabeth has since asked her to leave.

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