Kidnapped teenager defends her captor

A young woman who last week escaped from the  dingy windowless underground cell  where she was kept for 8 years issued a statement Monday defending her captor as "part of my life" and insisting she didn't miss anything during her long ordeal, AP reports.

In remarks read to reporters by a psychologist, 18-year-old Natascha Kampusch said she understood the "extreme curiosity" about what she endured and how she is faring since she bolted to freedom last Wednesday, but she pleaded with journalists: "Please leave me alone for a while."

"Everyone wants to ask intimate questions, (but) they don't concern anyone," she said. "I feel good where I'm at now."

Police said Monday they had only begun to question Kampusch about her abduction at age 10 in March 1998 by Wolfgang Priklopil, who killed himself within hours of her escape by throwing himself in front of a commuter train.

Police Maj. Gen. Gerhard Lang of the Federal Criminal Investigations Bureau said investigators are continuing to follow up on "every lead" in the case, which until last week was one of Austria's greatest unsolved criminal mysteries.

Although authorities have released photographs and video footage of the cramped, windowless basement cell where Kampusch was kept, she referred to it simply as "my room" in her statement, read by criminal psychologist Max Friedrich.

"It's my room, and not for the public to see," Kampusch said.

She also denied ever calling Priklopil her master, even though she said the 44-year-old communications technician wanted her to.

"He was not my master. I was equally strong," her statement read. "I didn't cry after the escape. He was a part of my life. ... In principle, I don't have the feeling that I missed something."

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