Incest Dad Left Children to Go on Vacation

Austria reels as more gruesome details emerge in abuse case.

ByABC News
April 30, 2008, 10:02 AM

PASSAU, Germany, April 30, 2008 — -- While crime scene investigators are continuing their inquiries, more details about the man who held his daughter and children captive in Austria are coming to light.

Most upsetting to many Austrians may be a home video obtained by German TV station n-tv.

It shows the man who confessed to imprisoning, raping and impregnating his daughter, Elisabeth, for 24 years on a "boys holiday" in Thailand in 1998, as she and her children suffered in a secret dungeon in the family home thousands of miles away.

Images show a smiling Josef Fritzl posing for the camera; Fritzl at the bazaar in Pataya, buying a dress for "his lover," as a friend remembers him saying at the time; Fritzl and his friend taking an elephant ride; Fritzl at a dinner buffet helping himself to food; Fritzl relaxing at the beach having a massage -- seemingly without a care in the world. They are all pictures of a happy man.

The same TV station also interviewed an Austrian journalist who has been working on the Fritzls' ''missing daughter story'' a couple of years ago, long before this horrible crime was discovered.

Andrea Kramer, the journalist, told n-tv that Fritzl appeared as a broken, old man, grieving because his daughter had run away from home when she was 18 to join a religious cult.

"No way could I ever imagine him the evil he turned out to be," Kramer told n-tv. "It seems impossible."

Asked how it was possible for Fritzl to keep his true face under wraps for so long, Franz Polzer, head of Lower Austrian Bureau of Criminal Affairs, told Austrian TV ORF in an interview Tuesday night, "He had no scruples to use every possible means to deceive his family, his wife, his relatives and everybody around him to cover up his crime. He was a very cunning man. He created a perfectly constructed framework of lies."

Polzer also explained that police in Austria were still looking for witnesses who could help shed some light into the dark chapter. He appealed publicly to "everybody who can help police to come forward."