In the September 11th issue of People magazine, there was an article about Natascha Kampusch, a 10 year-old girl who was kidnapped off a Vienna street, by 44 year-old Wolfgang Priklopil in March of 1998. natascha25806_narrowweb__300x3910.jpgShe was held captive in a 6′ by 10′ windowless room under the garage of a suburban house, just 12 miles from her family’s home.

Priklopil was a telecom technician, with whom she spent hours watching television and listening to the radio. She cooked and did chores, but was not a passive hostage, “he was not my master; I was just as strong.”

On August 23rd, Priklopil told her to vacuum his BMW. When he stepped away to make a phone call, Natascha, now 18, took the opportunity to flee to a neighbor’s house, unheard over the roar of the vacuum. (She said she never tried to escape because he’d threatened to kill her parents.)

Her parents are now separated. Her father had given up his bakery to spend his days trying to find her. Her mother has reportedly undergone psychological counseling (what mother wouldn’t?). Her mother said, “I left her bedroom exactly as it was when she vanished – it’s all there waiting for her.natscha.jpg

Priklopil committed suicide after her escape, by throwing himself under a train.

I think this is every parent’s worst nightmare, thankfully this one had a better ending than most.

I found more information here.