How a Smart New Mom and Triathlete Survived a Brutal Abduction, Torture by TALKING the Kidnapper into Letting Her Go
by Daisy Luther
A 27-year-old professional triathlete was hit by a van, kidnapped, and tortured last week until she managed to de-escalate a rapidly devolving violent situation and persuade her abductor to let her go.
Nathalie Birli is a professional triathlete in Kumberg, Austria and the mother of a 14-week-old baby boy. She told her story to an Austrian publication, Krone. (The following excerpts have been translated.)
How the abduction occurred
Last Tuesday, Birli was training on her bike when she was struck by a red delivery van. She immediately knew her left forearm was broken on impact. The driver got out, struck her in the head with a stick, duct-taped her hands together, and threw her in the back of the van, where she lost consciousness.
It must have been around 17 clock, on a gravel road in the district Hofstätten. Suddenly a red box van hit me. I fell, my left forearm was broken. A man got out, hit me with a wooden stick on the head, tied me up with electrical tape and threw me in the back seat. Then I must have been unconscious for a while.
When she awakened she was naked and tied to a chair in a strange house. Her abductor was there, wielding a knife and forced her to drink alcohol. Initially, he told her that he was going to release her the next day, but things quickly escalated.
When I came to, I was naked and tied to a chair in an old house. “Do what I want – tomorrow is free again,” said the perpetrator. I felt that I am in a remote house and I am sure nobody will find me there.
He was full of hate. He blindfolded me, forced me to drink wine and schnapps. And he always had a knife in his hand. Suddenly he closed my mouth and nose and wanted to suffocate me. He let go of me, but then …
Then he forced me to get into a bathtub of cold water and wanted to drown me…
Imagine the terror Birli must have felt. But she kept her composure despite the fact she believed she was being marched to her death.
How Birli talked her way to freedom
It was on the way to the bathroom that Birli noticed the vast amount of orchids in the abductor’s home. When she complimented the beautiful flowers and he was receptive, she was able to steer the conversation. Despite her fear, she de-escalated a heated situation and made it friendly and personal.
…My breakthrough came when I saw the many orchids in the house. I admired her, and suddenly the culprit was nice to me. He was a gardener, he said, and suddenly told me about his botched life: that his father had died, that his mother had succumbed to alcohol and that his girlfriend had cheated on him with another.
I made a suggestion to the man. “Let’s just say it was an accident,” I offered, “and you let me go now.” He started trading, freeing me from the shackles. I was allowed to get dressed, then the culprit has brought me to the front door. I went straight into the house, locked the door and called my partner.
The kidnapper was arrested.
With Birli’s description, the suspected kidnapper is now in custody.
Police managed to track down a suspect and the man, 33, was arrested early on Wednesday by Austria’s Cobra special forces.(source)
Birli is relatively unharmed.
Birli has a broken arm and a head injury but is otherwise unharmed. She released a statement from the hospital.
A thousand thanks to everyone who was looking for me yesterday 🤗 you couldn’t have found me. I was hit, beaten together, caught up and brought to a small house off the road – like in a bad movie.
Thank God I was able to free myself and I am well except for a broken arm and a head injury. (source)
If she hadn’t kept her composure, she’d probably be dead.
The ability to keep your composure in a stressful situation can also help your captor remain calmer and at least slightly lessen the risk of immediate harm. Being able to make a connection can deter violence because once you’ve made that connection, you’re “friends.” You’re a real human being in the eyes of the criminal.
This is exactly the kind of thing we’ll be learning in the women’s self-defense course in northern Virginia on Sept. 21 – using your brain to avoid the fight and de-escalate the threat.
Although Nathalie Birli was a strong, fit, professional athlete, she did not try in her injured state to fight off her kidnapper. If she had, she’d probably be dead right now. Instead, she used her wits and her ability to remain calm under pressure. That’s something any of us can do, regardless of our abilities and physical fitness levels.
About the Author
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.