LONG ISLAND, New York (PIX11) — 20 years after Suffolk County police discovered 10-year-old Katie Beers in a cramped, secret dungeon, seven feet underground, she is finally telling the story of her survival — after being chained 17 days in the dark prison.
“The kidnapping was the best thing that ever happened to me, unfortunately…..because it saved me from the childhood I had for ten years,” Beers told PIX 11 Tuesday.
Katie Beers is now 30 years old and a mother of two, but in a new book, “Buried Memories: Katie Beers’ Story,” she talks about early sexual abuse that started at age 2 at the hands of a family friend, Sal Inghelleri. He was her godmother’s husband.
Beers’ mother, Marilyn, worked different jobs and would often leave Katie in the Inghelleris’ care, where she was treated as a servant, expected to do laundry, run errands, and clean up after the dogs, with not much time for school.
The man ultimately convicted of kidnapping Katie, John Esposito, was another family friend who used to act as a “big brother” to Katie’s older brother.
Beers’ mother had warned her to stay away from Esposito, but on the day of her abduction, Linda Inghelleri allowed the then-9 year old Beers to go out with Esposito, a building contractor with a home in Bay Shore. Beers recalled that Esposito bought her a video game at Toys R Us and then took her to his home. He later dropped her seven feet down into the compartment where he’d built the secret lair.
“There was a chain that was for my neck that he did chain me with,” Beers told PIX 11. “I think the abuse that I sustained with Sal and Linda prepared me for what would happen with the abduction.”
What happened was more sexual abuse, and Beers could even see the police outside Esposito’s home through a closed circuit TV — although the detectives couldn’t hear her cries for help, because the underground rooms were sound-proofed.
She spent her 10th birthday underground in the dungeon. Espositio finally confessed to police on Jan. 13, 1993 — 17 days into her ordeal.
Katie decided to tell her story to Carolyn Gusoff, a reporter who covered the case in 1993. The book tells a tale of a new family’s love, therapy, and healing.