Even before Unterweger came into the world, he had the cards stacked against him. His mother, an alleged Austrian prostitute, met an American soldier stationed in Europe in the aftermath of World War II. The couple did not have a happy relationship – in fact, he left her before she gave birth to their son, Unterweger, in 1950.
As an infant and toddler, Unterweger lived with his mother, but she didn’t stick around for long, either. Instead, police arrested her, and her son went to live in Austrian state of Carinthia with his maternal grandfather. But that move did little to make his life better. His grandfather, in fact, had an alcohol addiction and abused the young boy.
Plus, Unterweger’s grandfather enlisted him to commit crimes with him – the boy would aid the older man when he wanted to steal animals from other farms, for example. And, at five years old, he followed his elder’s footsteps when he began to drink alcohol. Things only got worse from there for the young boy.