When She Ran Away at Age 18, Her Parents Thought She’d Joined a Cult. The Truth Was More Horrible.

Elisabeth Fritzl had a childhood full of abuse in Austria at the hands of her father. The abuse reportedly started at age 11, and continued throughout her teenage years. She could only dream of the day when she would turn 18. On that day, she would no longer be a child and would be a legal adult, free to make her own decisions and path. She didn’t know what was to come when she was 18..no one did except one man.

An Abusive Childhood

Elisabeth Fritzl   as a teen.

Elisabeth was the youngest daughter of Josef and Rosemarie Fritzl. The couple married in 1956 when Rosemarie was only 17 and Josef was 21. Despite their young ages, the pair soon had seven children: two sons and five daughters.

Among their daughters was Elisabeth, born in 1966. To outsiders, they appeared to be a normal family, however, there was something much darker under the surface. Josef was prone to acts such as peeking into people’s homes, and when Elisabeth was still an infant, he was arrested for rape after breaking into a woman’s apartment and assaulting her at knifepoint. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, and served 12 months, returning home to his family after Rosemarie forgave him. That was the beginning of his darkness.

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