Elizabeth Fritz was only 18 years of age when captured by her father, Josef Fritz and confined to a cellar under their house where she suffered abuse for 24 years before being rescued. We’ve heard of pedophiles but the Elizabeth Fritz story is certainly one that runs shivers down one’s spine. She never saw sunlight for 24 years of her young life.
Born to Josef and Rosemarie Fritz in April 1966, Elizabeth was only 11 when Josef first assaulted her sexually. As if that wasn’t enough, when she was about to move out for college Josef had called her into the basement claiming he needed help lifting a door. As she held the door, he forced her in and knocked her unconscious with an ether-soaked towel. Her mother had reported her missing, worried about her daughter’s whereabouts. Her father had told her mother and policemen coming for interrogations that she had likely joined a religious cult and ran away. Eventually the world moved on from the missing Elizabeth.
For the first two years, he simply kept her in captivity and left her alone occasionally bringing food then he started raping her. His wife wasn’t perturbed by his daily and sometimes nightly visits to the basement. In her sight, he was dedicated to his work. Elizabeth soon became pregnant, though she miscarried after 10 weeks. Two years later, she gave birth to a baby girl named Kerstin in August 1988 with no medical aid but a pair of scissors, some maternity book she had begged Josef to get her. Another baby, a boy was born after two years named Stefan.
The babies began to grow in their solitary confinement with their mother, managing rations of food and water brought by Josef. She gave birth to five more children, a set of twins but only one survived their harsh birth. Josef had disposed of the baby himself. The cellar soon grew too small, thus he had to come up with a plan. Josef staged elaborate discoveries of three of the babies by placing them at the doorstep or around the house with a note forcefully written by Elizabeth about how she couldn’t take care of them and needed her parents to take care of them. The three kids taken upstairs lived “normal” lives while their remaining siblings kept on in their confined lives.
However in 2008 when Kerstin fell critically ill, Elizabeth had begged for her 19-year-old to be given medical attention. He finally obliged, and took her in an ambulance with a fabricated story. Kerstin was questioned by the police which they grew suspicious of Josef story and re-opened Elizabeth’s case. If Josef felt threatened or had a change of heart, it’s unsure but he let her out for the first time in 24 years to see her daughter in the hospital. She was questioned and she told her story of 24 years, how he would make her watch porn films and then rape her and the kids she bore for him. Josef was arrested that night, her mother fled as she wasn’t aware of all that happened beneath her nose and finally Elizabeth and her kids tales changed into one of freedom.
Presently, Elizabeth lives a private life under a new identity with her family. With secured surveillance around their home, there are no accepted offers of interviews from the family, she is now in her mid-fifties having survived a horrible childhood.