I hope you are all doing well. Now; time to share with you one of the most shocking stories I have ever encountered.
A 73-year-old Austrian today confessed to imprisoning, beating and sexually abusing his daughter in a windowless cellar for 24 years, during which time he fathered her seven children.
Josef Fritzl admitted forcing his daughter Elisabeth into the basement of the family's home in Amstetten, north-west Austria, on August 24 1984, when she was 18.
Franz Pölzer, the head of the criminal investigations unit in the province of Lower Austria, said Fritzl had admitted abduction, incest and abuse.
Holding up a picture of the 73-year-old, he told a press conference: "This man led a double life for 24 years. He deceived everybody. He deceived his wife and the legal system."
After initially denying the crimes, Fritzl later admitted locking up his daughter, now aged 42, beating and sexually abusing her and fathering her children, Pölzer said.
"Even the most experienced members of the criminal police found it shocking," he added.
Three of the seven children never saw sunlight.
One died three days after birth, and Fritzl admitted taking the baby's body from the cellar and burning it. He is expected to appear in court later today.
Police have distributed several photos showing parts of the cramped basement cell in which Elisabeth and her children were kept.
Earlier, a police spokesman said Elisabeth was "psychologically extremely disturbed", but that her version of events was "completely believable".
She claimed her father had abused her since she was 11. "In her own words, she was continuously abused by her father," the spokesman added.
Police said many questions remained in the case, which is reminiscent of that of the Austrian girl Natascha Kampusch, who was abducted, aged 10, on her way to school in 1998 and locked in a windowless cell before escaping in August 2006.
Today, the Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard said in an editorial: "The whole country must ask itself just what is really, fundamentally going wrong."
Franz Prucher, the security director for Lower Austria, insisted Austria "is no more rotten than other countries".
The nation's interior minister, Günther Platter, said: "We are being confronted with an unfathomable crime."
Police said Fritzl, an electrical engineering technician by training, had told investigators how to enter the basement prison through a small hidden door,operated by a remote control nly he had known about.
His wife, Rosemarie, had been unaware of what happened to Elisabeth.
It is believed she assumed her daughter had disappeared voluntarily after a letter in her writing to her parents said they should not search for her.
The drama began to unravel last weekend when Elisabeth's 19-year-old daughter, Kerstin, who lived in the cellar, was left at a hospital with a life-threatening illness.
A search for Elisabeth increased in urgency as Kerstin's condition worsened.
The plight of the mother and children was discovered on Saturday night when Elisabeth and her father appeared together at the hospital.
They were taken to the nearby police station, where he was arrested for sexually abusing his daughter and holding her captive.
Kerstin is said to be in a critical condition, suffering from an unknown illness, in the intensive care unit of Krems hospital.
Elisabeth had agreed to speak to police only after being assured that she and her children would never again have contact with her father.
They said it appeared that, when Fritzl imprisoned his daughter in 1984, he had given the impression she had left home of her own will. She remained on the Interpol missing persons list.
Police investigators at the time were of the view that she might have become a member of a sect.
On various occasions between 1993 and 2002, Fritzl claimed his daughter had left three children on his doorstep along with notes asking him to look after them.
Authorities gave the couple permission to become foster parents to what were assumed to be their grandchildren.
But, according to police, Elisabeth had given birth to the children, along with four others including the one that died, in her cellar prison. Her father had removed the children.
Of the six children - three boys and three girls aged between five and 20 - five-year-old Felix, Stefan, 18, and Kerstin lived with their mother in the cellar.
"She taught them how to speak," Pölzer said, adding that Josef had provided food and clothing, but the children never received any professional medical care.
Asked why the children had not tried to over power their father, the police chief said: "These children were born into jail … they knew nothing else".
He described the oldest boy as "small and weak", saying Fritzl was "authoritarian and domineering". He added that Elisabeth "realized that was useless to battle against incarceration".
Forensic scientists were searching the cellar yesterday, while others combed the grounds of the house.
"There are things that you just don't want to see," a policeman at the house said. "The fewer pictures you have in your head, the better."
One neighbour said Fritzl had been "inconspicuous" and "always greeted us in a friendly way".
Another said she had often seen Rosemarie with her grandchildren. "She is really very nice, taking the grandchildren to school - but we knew nothing of what was really going on," she added.
Psychiatrist Max Friedrich, who treated Kampusch, said the children were undergoing tests in hospital, in particular for problems with their eyes and skin because of their lack of exposure to daylight.
"Socially the [children] could not develop any sort of sense of community which they would get from going to school or playgroup," he told Reuters.
I am speechless.
Unanswered questions and suspicions
Not only did he keep his daughter in a cellar for 24 years, but he murdered a woman aswell?
Although, I am still suspicious about the wife not knowing and when he went to Thailand - he can't have left a store of food and gone.
He threatened to gas his daughter and the children if they tried to escape!
Progression as the children try to adjust to the real world.
"My father chose me for himself", words of Elisabeth
Josef Fritzl's punishment chambers explored
More news on the reunion of mother and children, but Fritzl could NOT be going to jail!
Fritzl began building cellar six years before seizing daughter, plus information about a 500kg door and more for entrance to the dungeon where Elizabeth was kept.
Fritzl confesses to 'out-of-control addiction'