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Royal mystery: Austrian feared kidnapped safe with family

January 23, 2019
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Snow covers the Esterhazy castle in Eisenstadt, Austria, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. Austrian police say an 88-year-old woman with links to Austro-Hungarian nobility who was the feared victim of a brazen daytime kidnapping has surfaced unharmed at her daughter's house. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

BERLIN (AP) — Initial details of the reported daylight kidnapping of an elderly woman with links to Austro-Hungarian nobility made the apparent abduction in a small Austrian city sound like something out of a movie.

As 88-year-old Magdolna Theresia Ottrubay walked along a main Eisenstadt street named for her noble relatives, two black sedans with foreign plates screeched up to her, according to the initial police report.

A woman and a man got out of one car and looked on while a woman from the second vehicle pushed Ottrubay’s nurse aside and forced the wealthy kidnap quarry into a sedan that then sped away, the report stated.

More than 100 police officers were dispatched Tuesday to search for Ottrubay and her alleged abductor, described as a tall, thin woman wearing a winter hat over her blond hair.

But Burgenland state police said Wednesday that a few hours after they started searching, they had received a call from Ottrubay’s daughter reporting her mother safe and with her at home in Tirol. After speaking with Ottrubay herself, police said she confirmed the cars simply picked her up in Eisenstadt and she departed voluntarily.

The police in Austria said they were still trying to reconcile the different accounts of the “motive and circumstances” of the Tuesday incident on Esterhazy Street and had no further comment.

Ottrubay is the mother of Stefan Ottrubay, a part of the Esterhazy family, Hungarian nobility whose main seat was Eisenstadt in today’s Austria.

His aunt, Melinda Esterhazy, was married to Paul Esterhazy, the last of the family to officially carry the title of prince.

After Paul died in 1989, Melinda inherited his wealth and later appointed Stefan Ottrubay as director of the Esterhazy Foundation. The foundation administers Esterhazy family properties, including Eisenstadt’s Schloss Esterhazy, a popular tourist attraction. Melinda Esterhazy died in 2014.

Austrian media reported the properties include tens of thousands of acres of land and are overall worth more than 810 million euros ($920 million).

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