Authorities in the central Colombian region of Tolima have launched an investigation into a man suspected of having fathered eight children by his own daughter.

The man, aged 58, was arrested on Friday in the town of Mariquita, after a complaint was filed by his 35-year-old daughter.

According to the complaint, the man was left a widower when his daughter was just five years old and he started abusing her then. Her first pregnancy happened when she was only nine years old.

The woman had a total of 14 pregnancies from the relationship, although six ended in miscarriages. The offspring are now aged age one to 19.

Some of the woman’s children by her father were later abused by the man.

Colombian media reported that the woman decided to file a complaint against her father when she saw television reports about Austrian Josef Fritzl, who locked up his daughter for 24 years and systematically raped her. She gave birth to seven children during that time.

“She started to reflect on the issue when she saw the case of the Austrian ‘monster’. She realised that what her father was doing to her was not normal,” a relative told reporters.

The woman said she decided to file suit after her father beat up two of her children, aged two and five.

The children were left in the custody of a state agency that looks after minors.

Fritzl was found guilty earlier this month and sentenced to life imprisonment for the death of a baby he fathered with his daughter Elisabeth.

Child welfare authorities have called for a sentence of life in prison should he be convicted, saying there are hundreds of thousands of child sexual abuse cases in Colombia that are not being prosecuted.