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Europe

Kampusch kidnapper acted alone, probe finds

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-04-15

A new nine-month investigation into the kidnapping of Austrian Natascha Kampusch found that her abductor acted alone, dismissing years of speculation that he had an accomplice. Wolfgang Priklopil abducted Kampusch aged 10 in 1998.

The man who kidnapped Austrian Natascha Kampusch in a case that made headlines worldwide in 2006, acted alone, a new international probe revealed on Monday.

The probe, compiled over nine months with help from the FBI and German investigators, was meant to lay to rest repeated allegations over the years that Kampusch's abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil, had an accomplice.

"The evaluation concluded that it was highly likely Wolfgang Priklopil carried out the kidnapping alone," Joerg Ziercke, president of the German criminal police BKA, said Monday as he presented the report, commissioned last year by the Austrian parliament.

The results "clearly point to the lone perpetrator theory," he added.

Some of the details of the report were leaked over the weekend.

Kampusch, who was kidnapped aged 10 and kept prisoner in a cellar for eight years before she managed to escape in 2006, has always maintained Priklopil acted alone.

DNA samples taken from the house in Strasshof, just outside Vienna, where she was held captive also turned up no other suspect, Ziercke said Monday.

A young witness of the kidnapping had initially spoken of two men and early comments by Kampusch also contributed to the confusion.

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

Theories he may have been murdered were also debunked by the report, as were supposed links he had to prostitution or child pornography rings.

The latter claims "could not be established, despite extensive investigations," said Ziercke.

Austrian police have repeatedly come under fire for failing to follow up on certain leads following Kampusch's disappearance, and Ziercke highlighted several mistakes in the investigation as well as instances of "misjudgment".

The evaluation commission said it questioned 84 people but neither Kampusch, now 25, nor Ernst Holzapfel, a close friend of Priklopil who saw him shortly before his death and who has also at times been a suspect.

Ziercke said the existing information in the case files made this unnecessary.

The probe included four experts from the BKA and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), alongside investigators from the Austrian justice and interior ministries.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-04-15

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