After being kept hostage by her father for 19 years, along with her mother and two siblings in a dungeon prison, Kerstin Fritzl awoke from a medically induced coma and reunited with her mother Elisabeth and her siblings.

“It is June 1st, Sunday, at 9 a.m. Dr. Albert Reiter, who had been caring for Kerstin since she was taken to his hospital in Amstetten, Austria, on April 19, stated, “I said, ‘Hello Kerstin,’ and she said ‘Hello’ to me.”

Reiter, who was visibly emotional, stated, “Her ‘hello’ marked the beginning of a new life, the end of a long time of suffering.”

After arriving at the hospital unconscious and with multiple organ failure, Kerstin suffered seizures and, in addition to the induced coma, had to be placed on a respirator and underwent dialysis because of the effects of lack of oxygen. Her condition had been described as critical.

Kerstin is the oldest of seven children whom authorities say Austrian Josef Fritzl, has confessed to fathering in a windowless dungeon at the family home in Amstetten, where he held daughter Elisabeth captive and abused her for 24 years.

Fritzl forced three of those children, including Kerstin, to remain in the basement with their mother. Three other children were allowed to live upstairs with him and his wife, Rosemarie, and one child died as an infant in the basement shortly after birth.

Fritzl’s crime came to light when Kerstin was taken to the hospital. Her hospitalisation triggered the discovery of the dungeon at the family home.

Doctors in charge of her treatment were all too happy to tell reporters at a press conference that Kerstin had emerged from the artificially induced coma.

“On May 15, she opened her eyes for the first time and we smiled at her and she smiled back at us,” Reiter told reporters. “That’s when we figured she was going to recover, and that’s when her mother came to see her and they spent some time together. Her mother has been seeing her every day since, and she has made a very remarkable recovery.”

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