Where is Elisabeth Fritzl's father Josef now? Man who raped daughter for 24 years suffers from dementia in prison

After a trial that lasted four days, Josef pled guilty to multiple charges and was sentenced to life in prison


                            Where is Elisabeth Fritzl's father Josef now? Man who raped daughter for 24 years suffers from dementia in prison
Josef Fritzl imprisoned his daughter for 24 years (Getty Images)

In 2008, a woman in Austria, Elisabeth Fritzl, told police that she had been held captive for 24 years by her father, Josef Fritzl. Josef told her mother that she had run away, but Elisabeth had been in the home's basement. During the time she was imprisoned, Josef assaulted, sexually abused, and raped Elisabeth numerous times, resulting in the birth of seven children, with Elisabeth suffering a miscarriage two years into her imprisonments. One of the seven children, Michael, died shortly after birth in the cellar due to severe breathing difficulties.

The premise of Lifetime's latest film 'Girl in the Basement' may seem familiar ― the 2015 film 'Room' starred Brie Larson for which she won the Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as a woman who was kept imprisoned by a man in a basement for years. 'Room' was based on a 2010 novel of the same name by Emma Donaghue, a novel that was based on the infamous Fritzl case.

RELATED ARTICLES

'Girl in the Basement' Review: Disturbing film inspired by real-life sexual assault is not for the faint-hearted

Where is Elisabeth Fritzl now? Chilling true story of 24 years of rape and captivity of 'Girl in The Basement'

A general backside view of a house where Josef Fritzl locked up his daughter in a basement (Getty Images)

What happened to Elisabeth Fritzl?

In August 1984, 18-year-old Elisabeth was lured to the basement of their home by her father, Josef, under the pretext of helping him place a door for an ongoing basement conversion project. However, Josef covered Elisabeth's face with an ether-soaked rag while she was holding the door in place until she passed out. He handcuffed her and locked her. Josef then showed his wife Rosemarie a handwritten letter from Elisabeth, postmarked from the town of Braunau in Upper Austria, saying she had left her parents and to not look for her, or else she would flee the country. While a police report was filed, it was believed that Elisabeth joined a religious sect, according to a story Josef told the authorities.

Over the next 24 years, Josef visited Elisabeth in the basement nearly every day, raping her and abusing her. In 1988, she gave birth to her first child Kerstin and over the next 14 years, she had six more children, Stefan, Lisa, Monika, Alexander, Michael, and Felix. After Michael died, Josef took the baby's body and cremated him. Josef also decided that Lisa, Monika, and Alexander would be raised by him and his wife, creating the "upstairs family." Rosemarie believed Josef when he told her that the three infants were left at their doorstep with a note from Elisabeth asking for them to be taken in.

In 2008, when Kerstin fell ill, Elisabeth stepped outside the basement for the first time in 24 years as she took Kerstin to the hospital. Kerstin was diagnosed with kidney failure and Elisabeth was quickly led back to the basement. She returned to the outside world when police brought her in for questioning after hospital staff found a note — which Josef brought to them, claiming it was from Kerstin's mother — suspicious.

The hidden bedroom at the house and hiding place where Josef Fritzl imprisoned his daughter (Getty Images)

Elisabeth was quiet about her ordeal for hours, and it took a promise that she would never have to see her father again before she told the Austrian authorities about what really happened to her. Josef was arrested in April 2008 and was sentenced to life in prison. He apparently decided to imprison Elisabeth because she "did not adhere to any rules anymore."

Where is Josef Fritzl now?

Jpsef had a past of disturbing crimes — in 1964, he was jailed for the rape of a young nurse at knifepoint, and he had been a suspect in the attempted rape of another young woman. He reportedly told a psychiatrist, "I was born to rape, and I held myself back for a relatively long time. I could have behaved a lot worse than locking up my daughter."

After a trial that lasted four days, Josef pled guilty to the charges of the murder by negligence of Michael as well as for enslavement, incest, rape, coercion, and the false imprisonment of his daughter. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2009 with the possibility of parole after 15 years. According to the latest available report on Josef dated March 2019 from Metro, he is behind bars in Krems-Stein prison and is reportedly suffering from dementia, with his health said to have worsened. An inmate told the local paper that Josef "was and still is separate from everyone else" and that he "has totally withdrawn himself and barely leaves the cell."

In 2017, Josef changed his last name to Mayrhoff to spend the last days of his life "in anonymity." He was beaten by fellow prisoners and had his teeth knocked out in 2016. The inmate also said, "He doesn’t want contact with others, and altogether it looks as though he has resigned himself to dying," and added that other inmates want nothing to do with him, saying just hearing Josef's name made him "nauseous."

If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514