On 1 April 1979 , the then 18 - year- old bricklayer ' s apprentice was put into custody in a holding cell for being a passenger in a crashed car and completely forgotten about by the three policemen responsible for him . Each of them thought that the two others had already freed Mihavecz . They also ignored the pleas of his worried mother , who was concerned for what have happened to her son .
As his cell lay in the basement , nobody could hear his screams. He eventually lost 24 kg ( 53 pounds) of weight . 18 days later on 19 April , an officer who had unrelated business in the basement opened his cell after noticing the stench that was emanating from it.
Mihavecz needed several weeks to regain his health . In the criminal trial that followed, the three policemen accused each other . In the end, they were fined an amount equivalent to 2000 EUR as there was no evidence of criminal neglect or who was the main culprit . Two years later however, a civil court awarded Mihavecz 250 ,000 Austrian schillings compensation .
Mihavecz ' s case was later erroneously included in the first edition of a German book on urban legends .
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