Austrian kidnap victim says ignored clues caused loss of faith in judiciary

>VIENNA, Austria (AP) – A young Austrian woman whose kidnapper kept her locked away in a cell for years said Monday she lost faith in her country’s judiciary after accusations surfaced that authorities ignored a tip that could have led to her captor.

Natascha Kampusch was 10 when Wolfgang Priklopil abducted her in 1998. He held the girl for the next 8 and a half years, most of the time in a tiny, underground cell in his home in a Vienna suburb. Kampusch escaped in August 2006, and Priklopil threw himself in front of a train hours later.

Herwig Haidinger, the former head of Austria’s Federal Criminal Investigations Bureau, accused authorities last week of ignoring a tip in April 1998 from a local policeman that pointed to Priklopil. He also alleged that Interior Ministry officials refused to look into that accusation once Kampusch reappeared, so to avoid a scandal before parliamentary elections that fall.

Kampusch said in a television interview with Austrian broadcaster ORF late Monday that she was angry and had lost faith in the country’s judiciary; she called for those who did not pursue the clue to be “held responsible.”

“When one makes a mistake, one should somehow try to make things right again, or to learn from it,” Kampusch said.

She said she was consulting with her lawyers on whether to sue.

“It’s not about money, but about justice,” Kampusch said.

The Interior Ministry has launched an evaluation commission to look into the accusations.