Shocking case of child abuse uncovered by accident

Photo: CTK

The story of an eight-year-old boy who was cruelly tortured by his own mother - very likely with the silent consent of other members of the family - has sent shock waves across the country. Since that news broke other disturbing revelations about the family have come out, but much still remains unclear.

Photo: CTK
The shocking story of little Ondra is reminiscent of the fate of the abducted Austrian girl Natasha Kampusch. He was kept locked up in a tiny windowless space, lying naked with bound hands and feet, regularly deprived of food and water and was made to eat his own vomit. Except he was not being tortured by a stranger, but by his own mother, who had two other children in her care and was moreover studying child psychology in view of working with disabled children. Ondra himself had a hearing impairment which was why his mother had no problem arranging home schooling for him. Consequently nobody missed him at school, or anywhere else, since he wasn't allowed any friends. His fate would have gone undetected were it not for the fact that a neighbor bought an electronic child minder and while testing it picked up images from a similar device used by the mother to keep tabs on her imprisoned son. Dehydrated and in shock the eight-year old boy was rushed to hospital. His ten-year old brother and thirteen year old adopted sister were taken to an orphanage. Soon little Ondra joined them there but as Dita Pokorna, a child psychologist at the home explains, all three were still dealing with the trauma inflicted by their mother.

"You could see that Ondra was scared of everything, and he was terrified of being left in the dark. Later on he started playing but there are a lot of abnormal reactions that indicate what he must have gone through."

The accused Klara Mauerova with the now-escaped adopted daughter Anna, photo: CTK
Although there was no indication that Ondra's two siblings had been tortured in a similar way, his 13-year old sister who allegedly suffers from a social phobia, was in a much worse mental state of mind. A psychologist was called in to work with all three but within 48 hours the girl had escaped from the orphanage - allegedly by climbing out of a window in the middle of the night. A nationwide search is now on to find the child. When he learnt about his sister's disappearance Ondra had a serious relapse and had to be hospitalized.

Before he got worse though, he managed to tell his story - in a surprisingly coherent manner - to the police. One of the most shocking facts revealed was that his aunt Katka, who is a social worker in a children's home, sometimes visited him in his little prison cell - and that other family members allegedly knew about his suffering. His mother was taken into custody last Friday, and may face a jail sentence of up to eight years. The police are now questioning other members of the family in order to ascertain how long the abuse lasted and how many people were actually involved. The children's grandparents have asked for them to be placed in their care - but in view of Ondra's chilling revelations their chances of getting them are practically non-existent. In fact they themselves could end up being charged as accomplices. His father, who divorced Ondra's mother some time ago, denies any knowledge of what was going on. The police believe that Ondra's 13 year old sister could have the answer to many of their questions - if they can possibly find her - and if she is in a state to tell her story.