A woman was kept imprisoned in a secret cellar for 24 years by her father.
Elisabeth Fritzl, 42, said she was drugged and handcuffed after being lured to the basement of their home when she was 18.
She had been a captive ever since, repeatedly raped by her father Josef, 73, and had given birth seven times. Scroll down for more ...
Elizabeth Fritzl (left) then a teenager before her ordeal began, and Monika, 14, one of her daughters who was allowed to go to school
One child, a twin, died within days of being born. Three of Miss Fritzl's children were kept with her in the grim dungeon.
The chilling story of events in Amstetten, 80 miles west of Vienna, Austria, emerged two years after another Austrian, 18-year-old Natascha Kampusch, escaped from the clutches of a paedophile who had held her prisoner for eight years in a tiny dungeon at his home in a Vienna suburb.
In the case of Miss Fritzl, she was kept locked in a series of narrow, windowless rooms with ceilings about 5ft 6in high that were accessed by a door hidden behind a cupboard with a security code that only the father knew.
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Prison: An aerial shot of the Fritzl house, where Elizabeth was held captive for 24 years
The children kept with Miss Fritzl - her two elder children, aged 19 and 18, and her youngest, aged five - were all fed and clothed by her father but were never allowed out.
They had never seen sunlight until nine days ago when the eldest, a girl called Kerstin, became seriously ill and was taken to hospital by Mr Fritzl.
He then took his daughter and her other two children out of the cellar and she told shocked police her story.
Miss Fritzl's other three children, aged from 12 to 16, led a seemingly normal existence with Mr Fritzl and his wife Rosemarie, 67, upstairs in their home in Amstetten.
Details were still emerging last night but Rosemarie apparently claimed to be unaware of the horrors taking place in the cellar.
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The father: Josef Fritzl (left), Daughter: Monika, 14 (centre) The mother: Rosemarie Fritzl (right)
Miss Fritzl, who was badly malnourished with white hair and pale skin, was receiving medical and psychiatric treatment as police tried to unravel the last two decades of her life.
Her father, a retired engineer, was arrested on suspicion of incest and keeping his daughter in captivity. Although he initially refused to speak to police, he was later said to have given them directions and the code to the secret door.
Detectives said it led them to a small alleyway with an uneven floor. The only light source was from light bulbs.
Police chief Franz Polzer said: "There is not only one, but a number of rooms - one room to sleep in, one to cook, and there are also sanitation facilities."
Last night detectives said Miss Fritzl had claimed that her father had abused her since she was 11.
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Elisabeth F is said to have been held hostage in the cellar of this house in Amstetten
She said that on August 28, 1984, when she was 18, he lured her to the basement and drugged and handcuffed her before locking her up.
The following day her parents reported her missing and her details were circulated by Interpol.
But a month later it was assumed she had disappeared voluntarily when her parents claimed to have received a letter from her asking them to stop searching.
It was believed she had joined a cult and police stopped looking for her.
In fact she was in the cellar and was "continuously abused" during the 24 years, said police.
Of the seven children she gave birth to there, three girls and three boys survived but the twin died shortly after being born because it was not properly cared for, according to police.
As well as Kerstin, the other children were identified last night as Stefan, 18, and Felix, five, who were kept in the cellar, and Alexander, 12, Monika, 14, and Lisa, 16, who lived in the house with Mr and Mrs Fritzl.
Elisabeth's daughter Lisa, aged 16: She was allowed to live a normal life
The couple had told authorities they had found them outside their home in 1993, 1994 and 1997, each time with a note from their mother saying she was unable to care for the baby herself.
In fact, Mr Fritzl had forced his daughter to write the notes.
All were taken in by Mr and Mrs Fritzl as foster or adopted children. The three went to the local school where teachers were unaware of anything sinister going on at home.
A school spokesman said: "The children are well behaved, and have always got good marks in school."
In the letter left with the first apparently abandoned baby, Miss Fritzl said she already had a daughter and son.
In a later letter, she said she gave birth to another son in December 2002, according to police.
Those three children were the ones apparently held captive in the cellar with their mother, police chief Mr Polzer said.
The case came to light when Kerstin became ill and was taken to hospital in Amstetten on April 19 by Mr Fritzl. He told doctors that he had found her lying unconscious outside his home.
Doctors appealed for the girl's mother, who at that time was believed to have disappeared, to come forward to provide more details about the daughter's medical history.
Mr Fritzl then brought Miss Fritzl and her remaining two children out of the dungeon, telling his wife that their "missing" daughter had chosen to return home, police said.
After questioning and assurances that she would have no further contact with her father, she agreed to make a "comprehensive statement", they added.
Mrs Fritzl, as well as Miss Fritzl and her children, are now receiving psychological counselling. Miss Fritzl appeared to be "greatly disturbed" during police interviews after being found on Saturday.
Kerstin is still in intensive care in the town's hospital.
Prosecutors said that on the face of it Miss Fritzl appeared credible and that her father was guilty of a "major crime".
Neighbours said Mr Fritzl and his wife had five other children besides Elisabeth, all of whom were respected members of the community and had families of their own.
One neighbour said: "I would see the old lady almost every day, taking the children to school. They seemed a lovely family."
Another said: "My children went to the same school together with the Fritzl kids, there was never anything odd about them."
A third neighbour, Anita Lachinger, said: "Mr Fritzl seemed whenever you saw him like such a harmless old man. No one would have guessed the truth."
Mr Polzer said Miss Fritzl's children had been taken to a safe location. "They are all in psychological care in a secure institution in a clinic," he said.
"They are being cared for individually - those between 12 and 16 years of age who grew up with their grandparents, and two boys who, when they came out with their mother, saw the daylight for the first time in their lives."
The property in which the family lived had some rooms rented out to tenants, yet nobody realised what was happening in the sealed rooms.
In the case of Natascha Kampusch, she was ten years old when she was kidnapped in Vienna on her way to school in March 1998.
She was held for the next eight years by Wolfgang Priklopil, who largely confined her to a tiny underground dungeon in his home in a quiet Vienna suburb. He threw himself in front of a train hours after Miss Kampusch made a dramatic escape in August
Girl locked in cellar for 24 YEARS by her rapist father and had his seven children | the Daily Mail