Austrian Police Defend Teen's Privacy Request After Escape

The young woman who resurfaced last week after being held captive in a dingy, windowless cell for more than eight years has the right to privacy, authorities said Sunday, adding that she is not under police supervision.

The decision to seclude herself — and to avoid seeing people, including her parents — was hers alone, police said.

"If Natascha decides to go into ... Vienna's inner city and get a coffee, then she can do that," Police Maj. Gen. Gerhard Lang of the Federal Criminal Investigations Bureau told the Austria Press Agency.

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"If she wants, she can go everywhere," Lang said.

Natascha Kampusch resurfaced last week — eight years after being abducted while on her way to school when she was 10 and escaping her captor Wednesday while he was tied up with a phone call.

Her captor, 44-year-old Wolfgang Priklopil committed suicide hours after she fled by throwing himself in front of a commuter train in Vienna.

Her parents, though overjoyed to learn Natascha is still alive, have expressed frustration that they could not get spend more time with their long-lost daughter.

In an interview in the Sunday edition of the newspaper Kurier, Kampusch's mother said she had seen her daughter only once since her escape.

"Natascha is now locked away again. That's terrible for me," the newspaper quoted Brigitta Sirny as saying. The mother added that she didn't think it was what the 18-year-old wanted.

"I really couldn't imagine that. I think the mother should be close," she told the newspaper.

The teen, kept in a secure and undisclosed location, was "for the moment well" and enjoying some private time reading newspapers and watching TV, according to Monika Pinterits, an attorney who said she spent several hours at her side.

Kampusch had one brief, emotional reunion with her parents after her escape, but has not asked for them since, police said.

Kampusch's father, Ludwig Koch, begged police to be allowed to have a cup of coffee with her and snap a few photographs to share with the extended family, APA reported Saturday, citing a senior investigator.

Police declined, fearing the photos would end up in newspapers and on television because of intense interest in the case, long one of Austria's greatest unsolved mysteries.

But Koch later told reporters his daughter sent him a letter that read, in part: "We'll have all the time in the world."

Investigators will decide Monday or Tuesday — with Kampusch — if and when she would be ready to continue to speak to them about her experience, police official Lang said Sunday on Austrian radio.

Taking shifts, investigators continued Sunday to search for clues in the house in the semi-rural community of Strasshof, north of Vienna, where Kampusch was kept, for the most part, in a dungeon.

"A lot of what Priklopil told Natascha was wrong," he said. "He manipulated his victim."

Investigators have found videos and books that will be analyzed in great detail, Lang said.

With the help of one book, Kampusch taught herself how to knit, according to Lang.

Police also were examining notes and shopping lists found in Kampusch's cell and the house, Lang said, adding that investigators had not found a diary.

Police also were trying to determine if Priklopil had an accomplice, but "questioning of Natascha has shown that there was no second offender," Lang said.

Based on information available so far, neither Priklopil's mother nor a male friend he contacted while on the run Wednesday before committing suicide were involved in the act, Lang told APA.