'Unfathomable crime' leads to Austrian media frenzy

Man accused of locking daughter up, fathering her children

COLOGNE, Germany -- The international news media has turned the small Austrian town of Amstetten into a media village after 73-year-old resident Josef Fritzl was arrested on suspicion of keeping his daughter imprisoned in the cellar of his house for 24 years and of fathering seven children with her.

The 24-hour news giants CNN, BBC, MSNBC and Sky News were joined by hundreds of international broadcasters and journalists in reporting from the site of what one Austrian police investigator called "an unfathomable crime."

Around the world, broadcasters broke off regularly scheduled programming to carry footage from the pristine Alpine town where the loathsome crimes, to which Fritzl has reportedly confessed, took place.

Many reports focused on the extensive underground prison Fritzl had built in the basement of his nondescript family home. The daughter, 42, said the crimes began in 1984, when her father lured her into the cellar, drugged and handcuffed her.

The current media circus is reminiscent of two years ago, when Austrian teenager Natascha Kampusch escaped after being held for more than eight years in a tiny underground dungeon. Kampusch, now 20, gave an interview on Austrian radio offering to help the victims with emotional and financial support.