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Josef Fritzl could be charged with murder over death of newborn PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 10 May 2008

Josef Fritzl is likely to be charged with manslaughter after he admitted in an interview that one of the children he had with his daughter Elisabeth died shortly after birth without medical attention, reports londontimes.

Mr Fritzl, 73, is on remand in jail pending trial after he confessed to having kept Elisabeth, 42, as a sex slave in a concrete bunker beneath his house for 24 years and producing seven children with her.

The Austrian will appear in a closed court hearing today, in the presence of his lawyer, the prosecutor and the judge, who is expected to extend his remand custody for one month.

Mr Fritzl could be kept for up to two years without charges if the investigation continues, provided his remand custody is regularly extended by the court. Police believe that the investigation is expected to take another six months.
Austrian prosecutors now say that it is “increasingly likely” that Mr Fritzl would face charges of manslaughter or "murder out of negligence" for failing to provide medical attention for the newborn that died in the cellar where he imprisoned his family.  

“We have read the interview and will subject Mr Fritzl thorough questioning. If it emerges that he was aware that his child was severely ill but still did nothing to bring help, that would be a case of murder out of negligence,” Gerhard Sedlacek, a spokesman for the St Pölten prosecutors’ office, said.

The baby, called Michael, was born with his twin on April 28, 1996, but reportedly died three days after that. Elisabeth confirmed that the baby had died shortly after birth.

Officers investigating Mr Fritzl’s three-storey house and the surrounding property announced that they will employ sniffer-dogs to inspect the garden and determine whether there were any corpses buried in it.

Archaeologists and other experts were also summoned at the scene to use a sonar probe and check for graves or more underground bunkers.

Colonel Franz Polzer, a police spokesman, said that investigators found two previously unknown rooms in the cellar next to the dungeon where the captive family were kept, which were not used for many years and sealed off with concrete.

Mr Polzer said that both rooms were filled with building rubble and could have served as a storage space during the construction of the dungeon. Experts have not yet inspected the rooms to determine whether they contained any evidence relevant to the investigation.

Meanwhile, Elisabeth and her five children, as well as Mr Fritzl’s wife Rosemarie, 68, are being treated in a local hospital, where according to doctors they are making “remarkable progress”.

Cristoph Herbst, the lawyer hired by the state of Austria to represent the Fritzl family, announced that he would demand that the authorities to freeze Mr Fritzl’s assets in order to make them available for damages payments for his clients.

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