Today, “Starting Point” looks back at a crime that gripped the nation 20 years ago. Nine-year-old Katie Beers was locked in a dungeon on Long Island and sexually abused by her kidnapper, neighbor John Esposito, in December of 1992. He made her stay there for 17 days, chained by the neck in a locked wooden box suspended above the ground. A television in the corner provided the only distraction and the only light. Her only meals were junk food. Her captor broke down and she was rescued.
Decades after her kidnapping, Beers is revealing her story in the new book, “Buried Memories: Katie Beers’ Story.” It was co-written by WCBS News reporter Carolyn Gusoff, the local television reporter who covered her story. Now a 30-year-old married mother of two living in rural Pennsylvania, she talks with Soledad today on remarkable story of survival and strength.
Beers describes the life of abuse she led before her kidnapping. “My childhood consisted of enslavement by my godmother and my godmother’s husband,” she says. “Not only that,” she continues, “but also sexual abuse by my godmother’s husband, verbal, physical, and emotional abuse by both my godmother herself and her husband, and neglect by my mother.”
She says she didn’t realize how desperate her life was until after her abduction, though she feels her childhood prepared her for the horrors of her abduction. “My will to survive during the abduction came from the abuse that I sustained as a child.”
After her rescue, Beers lived with a foster family, who she says was “instrumental” to her recovery. She also accredits therapy greatly for helping her overcome her past. “I try not to think about it,” she says. “There’s no point in thinking about the past. I’ve gone through therapy. I’ve said my piece. I’ve now written the book, and now I feel I can finally rebury everything. There’s no point in opening up old scars.”