Josef Fritzl, Elisabeth’s father, imprisoned her for 24 years. The girl was repeatedly physically assaulted, sexually molested, and raped while she was imprisoned in the cellar of their Austrian home.
Three of Elisabeth’s seven children, who were born, stayed in captivity with their mother. Josef killed one of them shortly after delivery, and the other three were raised by Fritzl and his wife Rosemarie after being reported as abandoned infants. Despite being later detained, his wife maintained that she was completely unaware of her daughter’s 24-year incarceration in their own basement.
Josef was sentenced to life in prison after entering a guilty plea to charges of murder by negligence involving his infant son (and grandson) Michael as well as decades of enslavement, incest, rape, coercion, and false imprisonment of his daughter Elisabeth.
However, Elisabeth’s mother’s response to the entire situation is one of the most suspect things to have come out of this heartbreaking case. Various accounts claim Rosemarie Fritzl was unaware of what was going on in their home’s basement. She had no idea of the extensive abuse her daughter had experienced over the course of 24 years.
Her role in the case has been the subject of numerous rumours. After speaking with Rosemarie in 2011, police swiftly exonerated her and never brought charges against her in connection with the cases. Because Rosemarie and Josef were frequently seen in supermarkets with her spouse, who was believed to be her husband, purchasing baby food and diapers, there were many questions regarding her involvement.
The likelihood that Rosemarie was aware of her husband’s behaviour was swiftly ruled out by the police. Her husband would not even let her access the basement, something she was never permitted to do. But how is it that she hasn’t gone down there in 24 years? The police still find it extremely unreasonable and difficult to believe that no one was aware of Elisabeth’s disappearance.
“It defies logical thinking that a woman who has had seven children with her husband would make it possible for him to have another relationship with his daughter and have another seven children,” said Franz Pölzer, head of the criminal investigations section in the province of Lower Austria. We still find it difficult to believe that nobody – not a neighbour, relative, or friend – paid attention.
What has become of Rosemarie Fritzl?
According to a 2012 story, Rosemarie promptly left her husband’s home and changed her name. She rents a first-floor apartment in Linz, northern Austria, where she receives a meagre pension. She still relies on her pension, according to a 2019 The Mirror report, and she tries to generate some extra cash by selling handmade jewellery and paintings. Additionally, her sister asserted that Rosemarie and Elisabeth’s relationship is now improved, saying that “whatever suspicion there was, has gone.”