Natascha Kampusch's life changed forever when she decided to walk alone to school on March 2, 1998, after an argument with her mother. "He grabbed me by the waist and threw me into the open door into his delivery van, everything happened in one fell swoop. The moment the delivery van door closed behind me I was well aware of the fact that I had been kidnapped, and that I would probably die."
Natascha was only 10 years old when she was snatched by her abductor off a Vienna street. She spent the next eight-and-a-half years imprisoned in a specially built underground cell beneath her tormentor’s home. He had planned for this moment for a long time, painstakingly digging a dungeon below his house to keep his prisoner. The walls were half a metre thick and sealed by a steel and concrete door weighing 150 kilos. Wolfgang Priklopil was a communications technician at the time of the abduction.
She was beaten repeatedly during her 3,096 days of captivity. He hated when she cried out in pain and as a result grabbed her by the throat, dragged her to the sink, pushed her head underwater and squeezed her windpipe until she became unconsciousness. He believed that the hydrochloric acid from her tears would ruin the tile. He was obsessed with the house being clean and no evidence or prints from Natascha. After years of physical and mental abuse, Natascha was both terrified of, and reliant on, her captor. He would often starve her as one of his preferred means of control.
On August 23, 2006, she was vacuuming when she realized that he left a door open and she knew it was her chance to escape. She left the vacuum cleaner running and ran as fast as her legs would take her. The same day of her escape, her captor threw himself on the train tracks and committed suicide.
She discovered her kidnapper, Priklopil, had left his house of horrors home to her after he committed suicide following her escape. Due to bureaucratic hurdles, she is unable to destroy the home. She also does not want it to be turned into a "theme park" so it remains an eerie time capsule.
You can learn more about her story of survival by reading her book, entitled 3,096 Days in reference to the amount of time she was held captive. The book, Ten Years of Freedom, is another book where she describes visiting Priklopil's body at the morgue after his death. “I had only one person I was close to for many, many years. On whom my survival depended." Amazon Prime video also has the story you can watch called Kidnapped: Natascha Kampush.