Austria’s Most Wanted: Innocent or Master Manipulator?

The escape of Tibor Foco

Iris Reinbacher

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The case of Tibor Foco, who, after serving 9 years of a 25-year sentence for murder, escaped his guards during a visit to university and has been missing ever since, has captivated the imagination of Austrians for almost 30 years. Most Austrians — including the victim’s later mother, the director of the prison he was incarcerated in, and even some of the jurors in his trial — believe Tibor to be innocent, and given all the inconsistencies that plagued the trial, he may just as well be.

The crime

In the mid-1980s, Tibor Foco had it all. He was charming, attractive and had a successful career in motorcycle racing. His family was fairly well off, and he could indulge in his passions.

At the same time, it was known that he looked down on women. This probably also played a role in his decision to open a bar cum brothel in the red-light district of his hometown Linz, although the main motivation was likely the allure of easy money to support his racing career.

In any case, in his “Bunny Bar” Tibor offered — and himself consumed — the services of prostitutes, and one of his workers was also his lover, even though he was a married man.

In the morning of March 13, 1986, Elfriede Hochgatter, a prostitute who worked next door to the Bunny Bar, was found murdered not far from the red-light district. As people had seen them fighting that very night, Tibor Foco…

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Iris Reinbacher

Scientist by training. Writer by choice. Japanophile by calling. What I’m up to: goinggaijin.com What Kyoto is up to: whatsupinkyoto.com