THE disturbing story of how a young girl was held captive for over 8 years has shocked many.
Natascha Kampusch was only 10-years-old when she was kidnapped in broad-daylight from the streets of Vienna in March 1998.
Who is Natascha Kampusch?
Natascha Kampusch was 10-years-old when she was snatched from the streets of Austria.
She was raised by her mother Brigitta Sirny and father Ludwig Koch in Vienna.
Her parents separated when Kampusch was still a child and divorced after her abduction.
She had spent time with both of them, having just returned to her mother's home from a holiday with her father the day before her kidnapping.
Since her harrowing ordeal, Kampusch has gone on to write two books about her experiences, in the hope that it can help others and prevent a repeat of the scarring incident.
How long was she held by Wolfgang Priklopil?
Natascha Kampusch was held captive for over eight years, spurring the title of one of her books 3,096 Days.
She was held prisoner in a house on the outskirts of Vienna, kept in a dungeon three metres below ground.
Kampusch was forced to cook and clean for her captor while living in a small cellar underneath his garage.
The day her life changed forever started like any normal day for any schoolchild.
She headed to Brioschiweg primary school as she had done countless times before.
However, Wolfgang Priklopil was waiting in his white Mercedes van, parked on the street of her route.
As she walked passed the van, Priklopil pounced, grabbing the young girl and dragging her into his van.
Kampusch struggled, as anyone would, but her attacker was stronger and managed to overpower her with ease.
A 12-year-old witness reported having seen her being dragged into a white minibus by two men, although Natascha Kampusch never reported a second man at the scene.
She recalls, “I asked him if he was going to kill me or bury me in the woods, but he told me to keep quiet.
“I was wrapped in a blanket, and then carried down to the basement.
“Then I was placed in the darkness, a dark room, the dungeon. I was in shock.
“It was pitch black. I kept on thinking that someone would come and find me, that my mum and school would be missing me.
“I was convinced the police would come and save me, like in the movies and on TV."
The entrance to the cellar was concealed behind a cupboard, with a door made of concrete that was reinforced with steel.
The room had no windows and was soundproofed, to prevent anyone hearing her screams.
Priklopil would regularly starve her to make her physically weak and unable to escape.
He had warned her that the doors and windows of the house were booby-trapped with high explosives.
Also claiming to be carrying a gun that he would use to kill her and the neighbours if she attempted to escape.
When she cried, he used violence against her.
How did Natascha escape?
Kampusch, then 18-years-old, managed to escape from Priklopil's house on August 23, 2006.
She was cleaning and vacuuming her kidnapper's red BMW sportscar, when he received a call on his mobile phone, walking away from her and the noise of the vacuum cleaner.
Kampusch left the vacuum cleaner running and ran away, while her captor was oblivious, continuing his phone call.
She ran 200 metres through neighbouring gardens and a street, jumping fences, and asking passers-by to call the police, but they paid her no attention.
Knocking on the window of a 71-year-old neighbour, Kampusch managed to explain her situation and they called the police.
Recalling the moment she tried to escape, she said “I crept to the gate which was usually closed or blocked by heavy objects, but not on this day.
“I could hardly breathe. I felt solidified, as if my arms and legs were paralysed, jumbled images shot through me.
"Then I saw a woman in a garden house and knocked on her window and whispered ‘Please help me!’
"She asked what I was doing in her garden and then called the police."
What happened to her kidnapper and the house?
When Natascha escaped after nearly nine years in captivity, Wolfgang Priklopoil took his own life before the police were able to catch him.
He killed himself by lying down in front of a train shortly after her escape.
After the alleged suicide of Priklopil, two coroners who examined the case files determined that he might have been murdered.
It is claimed that Priklopil was already dead when his body was put on the railway tracks.
Kampusch's own father believes his daughter has not revealed the full story of her years in captivity or what happened on the day she finally managed to escape.
When told that they had found her captor's decapitated body, she accused the police of killing him and demanded to be left alone with the coffin to pray for him.
It was reported that she claimed the house from Priklopil's estate because she wanted to protect it from vandals and being torn down.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Natascha said: "I think he was a lonely person, he was like a person without friends and without any love and perspectives."
Surprisingly, she still lives there at weekends because she feared it would "become a theme park".
And Natascha continues to clean the entire house from top to bottom to the exact specification her tormentor demanded.
What has Kampusch said about Madeleine McCann?
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Natascha Kampusch told Maddie's parents Kate and Gerry: "Please stay strong and never give up yourself – and I hope that Madeleine appears."
Since her escape and the re-telling her story, she has been subjected to vile abuse from online trolls and can relate to what the McCann's have endured.
“I had police protection when I was first stalked.
"During my time in captivity my mother was accused of killing me and burying me by a private detective and former family judge who wrote a book. It was horrible for her.
"She lost her child and then was accused of killing me. She was very angry about it and sued the person."
She said that her mother had never given up hope, saying:"If you lose your child you will believe in anything to get her back."
Kampusch hopes her story and words of advice will give the couple hope that one day, they will see their daughter again.
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