Katie Beers kidnapping

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Katie Beers Case
LocationBay Shore, New York
Attack type
VictimKatie Beers
PerpetratorsJohn Esposito

Katherine "Katie" Beers (born December 30, 1982) was kidnapped in New York in 1992 at age 10, by a friend of the family, and held in an underground bunker for seventeen days.[1][2]


Katie Beers disappeared on December 28, 1992, two days before her tenth birthday. She was lured by the promise of birthday presents to the home of a family friend, John Esposito.[1] She left a message on her godmother's answering machine saying, "I've been kidnapped by a man with a knife."[3] Esposito, almost immediately a suspect due to his own personal history (he had a criminal record for previously grabbing a seven-year-old in a mall in an attempted abduction as well as assaulting Katie's older brother John), falsely alleged that Beers was kidnapped by a third party while at the Spaceplex indoor amusement park, but security cameras disclosed that Esposito entered Spaceplex by himself.

Beers was held in a 6-foot-by-7-foot concrete bunker under Esposito's garage in Bay Shore, New York, concealed by a 200-pound concrete trap door. The bunker contained a commode toilet, television set, mattress and chains used to restrain Beers. Beers, along with other children, had played in the dirt displaced by the bunker as Esposito dug it a few years earlier. He told police he had built the bunker for Beers.[1] On January 13, 1993, she was found alive in the bunker[4][5][6] after Esposito led police to it.[1] Although he was not charged with it, Beers later said Esposito had raped her during her captivity.[1]


Esposito was sentenced on July 27, 1994, to 15 years to life,[7] a sentence he served at Sing Sing prison in Westchester County, New York. He was found dead in his cell of apparently natural causes on September 4, 2013, just after a parole hearing.

Beers was sent to live with foster parents, due to severe neglect from her mother and abuse she had experienced before the kidnapping.[8][9] She was raised by the foster family until adulthood.


In January 2013, Beers published a memoir, Buried Memories (known as Help Me in the United Kingdom) about her ordeal. The book was co-written by reporter Carolyn Gusoff, who had previously covered Beers' case as it was happening.[1] To promote the book Beers shared her abduction on the Dr. Phil talk show in January 2013.[10][11]

The season 4 episode of Law & Order, "Nurture", was based on this case. ABC's 20/20 episode "Saved" covered Katie Beers story in February 2013.[12]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f J. David Goodman (January 15, 2013). "A Girl Held for 16 Days in a Dungeon, Now Looking Back as a Woman". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-16.
  2. ^ Joe Treen; Maria Eftimiades (January 16, 2013). My Name Is Katherine: The True Story of Little Katie Beers. St. Martin's Press.
  3. ^ Rabinovitz, Jonathan (December 31, 1992). "Police Query 2 in Search For Girl, 10". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  4. ^ McQuiston, John T. (June 29, 1994). "Calm, Collected Katie Beers Testifies in Sex Abuse Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  5. ^ "Former kidnap victims recall ordeals that came afterward". CNN. March 14, 2003. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  6. ^ Arthur Herzog (2003). 17 Days: The Katie Beers Story. iUniverse. ISBN 0-595-27146-4.
  7. ^ McQuiston, John (July 27, 1994). "Man Sentenced to Prison In Kidnapping of L.I. Girl". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-13.
  8. ^ Press, Associated (21 February 2009). "CHILD ABDUCTOR SAL INGHILLERI DIES IN JAIL". New York Post. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Katie Beers: Kidnapping allowed me to escape abuse". CBS/AP. CBS Interactive Inc. Associated Press. 15 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  10. ^ Real, Evan (13 June 2018). "Who Is Katie Beers? Meet the Woman Who Survived a Brutal Abduction". In Touch Weekly. American Media Inc. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Young, Innocent and Held Captive". Dr. Phil. Season 11. Episode 82. 14 January 2013. CBS. Retrieved 3 November 2018. Lay summary.
  12. ^ Bernstein, Alyssa. ""Saved" on "20/20" Airing Friday, February 8 on ABC". ABC News. ABC News Internet Ventures. Retrieved 13 January 2017.