Katie Beers kidnapping

Katherine Beers[1] (born December 30, 1982)[2][3] is an American woman who was kidnapped when she was 9 years old in Bay Shore, New York by John Esposito, a friend of the family, and held in an underground bunker from December 28, 1992, to January 13, 1993.[4]

Katie Beers Case
LocationBay Shore, New York
DateDecember 28, 1992 – January 13, 1993
Attack type
Kidnapping, False Imprisonment, Rape
VictimKatie Beers
PerpetratorsJohn Esposito


Katie Beers lived with her mother Marilyn Beers and older half-brother John Beers in Long Island, New York. Her biological father has never been identified as her conception resulted from a one-night stand.[5] From a young age, Katie also lived with her godmother Linda Inghilleri and Inghilleri's husband, Salvatore. Marilyn frequently neglected Katie and John, leaving them in the care of the Inghilleris, from whom they would endure abuse including frequent sexual assaults by Sal.[3]

John Esposito was a friend of the Beers family who would frequently give attention and gifts to Katie and John Beers, but would also sexually abuse John. Esposito had previously been arrested in 1977 for the attempted abduction of a twelve-year-old boy.[5]


Beers was lured into Esposito's house at Bay Shore, New York on December 28, 1992, two days before her 10th birthday, by the promise of birthday presents.[3] After Beers played a video game in Esposito's bedroom, he forced her into an underground concrete bunker.[5]

The 6-foot-by-7-foot bunker hill was located under Esposito's garden and accessed via a six-foot long tunnel. The entrance tunnel was concealed by a 200-pound concrete trap door and hidden behind a removable bookcase in Esposito's office. The bunker contained a commode toilet and closed-circuit television system. Within the bunker was a coffin-size soundproofed room containing a bed and television where Beers was chained.[6] Esposito would later tell police he had built the bunker specifically for Beers. Beers herself later recalled playing in the dirt displaced by the bunker as Esposito dug it a few years before the kidnapping.[3][7]

Immediately after forcing Beers into the bunker, Esposito made her record a message where she claimed a man with a knife had taken her.[5] Esposito played the message at a pay phone outside the Spaceplex amusement arcade at Nesconset, New York and told the arcade's staff that he had lost Beers within the building.[2][8] Police were called when she couldn't be located.[5]

During her captivity, Esposito would frequently visit Beers to sexually abuse her while also providing food, blankets and toys. He allowed Beers into the larger part of the bunker when he visited her but would force her back into the smaller room when she was alone, although Beers was able to unchain herself and escape to the larger room in Esposito's absence after hiding a key under her pillow, but was unable to escape the bunker itself. Esposito told Beers he intended to keep her in the bunker for the remainder of her life, and planned to take a photo of her asleep and send it to police so they would believe she was dead, although the photo was never taken.[5]

Esposito was a suspect from an early stage in the police investigation, following accusations of previous sexual abuse towards John Beers and witnesses at Spaceplex stating that he entered the arcade alone on the day of Beers' disappearance.[5] Police also determined that Beers' phone message about a man with a knife was from a previously made recording based on a lack of background noise.[7]

On January 13, 1993, 17 days after the kidnapping, Esposito confessed to holding Beers captive and took police to the bunker where they rescued her.[9][10][5]


Esposito pleaded guilty to kidnapping on June 16, 1994[11] and was sentenced on July 27, 1994 to 15 years to life,[12] a sentence he served at Sing Sing prison in Westchester County, New York. During Esposito's trial, Beers said he had raped her during her captivity. Although he was not charged with this,[3] the judge sentencing him agreed with her.[12] Esposito was found dead in his cell of apparently natural causes on September 4, 2013, shortly after his fourth parole hearing in 20 years.[13]

Sal Inghilleri was convicted of two counts of sexual abuse and served 12 years for molesting Beers. During the investigation into the kidnapping, authorities discovered that Inghilleri had sexually abused the girl before she was abducted. He was prosecuted additionally for those crimes. He died in prison in 2009.[14]

Shortly after her rescue, Beers was sent to live with foster parents in East Hampton, New York due to the neglect and abuse the two children had experienced before the kidnapping.[15][14][16] Beers was provided with anonymity and raised by her foster parents until adulthood.[15] In January 2013, Beers spoke publicly for the first time about her ordeal and revealed that she was now married with two children and working in insurance. During the same month, she published a memoir about her ordeal.[3]


In the months following the kidnapping, two books covering the case were published: My Name Is Katherine: The True Story of Little Katie Beers written by Maria Eftimiades and Joe Treen, and 17 Days: The Katie Beers Story by Arthur Herzog.

Beers' memoir, Buried Memories (known as Help Me in the United Kingdom) was co-written by reporter Carolyn Gusoff, who had covered Beers' case as it was happening, and was published on January 13, 2013, on the 20th anniversary of her rescue.[3]

ABC's 20/20 episode "Saved" covered the Katie Beers story in February 2013.[17]

Investigation Discovery recounted the case on an episode of its 2020 documentary miniseries Killer Carnies. It included accounts from Beers, the lead police detective, and others.[18]

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Joe Treen; Maria Eftimiades (May 15, 1993). My Name Is Katherine: The True Story of Little Katie Beers. St. Martin's Press.
  • Arthur Herzog (September 1, 1993). 17 Days: The Katie Beers Story. Harpercollins.
  • Katie Beers; Carolyn Gusoff (January 13, 2013). Buried Memories: Katie Beers' Story. Titletown Publishing.


  1. ^ McQuiston, John T. (January 21, 1993). "Katie Beers Likes New Home, Official Says". The New York Times. p. B5. Retrieved October 19, 2020. 'One of her first words to me when we met last Friday were, "You know my name is really Katherine,"' Mr. Catterson said this afternoon.
  2. ^ a b Rabinovitz, Jonathan (December 31, 1992). "Police Query 2 in Search For Girl, 10". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-24. ...who disappeared ... on Monday [December 28, 1992]...
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Goodman, J. David (January 15, 2013). "A Girl Held for 16 Days in a Dungeon, Now Looking Back as a Woman". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-16. After luring her to his home with the promise of presents two days before her 10th birthday...
  4. ^ Note: Cited sources variously give length of time as either 16 days or 17 days. The latter includes the day of the kidnapping; from December 28 to January 13 is 16 days otherwise.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Beers, Katie; Gusoff, Carolyn (2013). Buried Memories: Katie Beers' Story. Titletown Publishing. p. 280. ISBN 978-0825307782.
  6. ^ Blasey, Laura (January 11, 2018). "Katie Beers: 25 years after the Long Island girl's kidnapping". Newsday.
  7. ^ a b McQuiston, John T. (January 14, 1993). "Girl, Missing for 16 Days, Is Found in Secret Room". The New York Times. p. A1.
  8. ^ "Police Trace Call by Missing Girl to Pay Phone". The New York Times. January 2, 1993. p. 27. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  9. ^ Milton, Pat (January 30, 1993). "Katie Beers Finally Gets to be a Child". Associated Press. Archived from the original on October 25, 2020. Katie, reported missing in late December, was found Jan. 13...
  10. ^ McQuiston, John T. (June 29, 1994). "Calm, Collected Katie Beers Testifies in Sex Abuse Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  11. ^ "Man Who Locked Girl In Home Bunker Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping". AP News. Riverhead, New York. June 16, 1994.
  12. ^ a b McQuiston, John (July 27, 1994). "Man Sentenced to Prison In Kidnapping of L.I. Girl". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-13.
  13. ^ "Man Convicted In Katie Beers Abduction Found Dead In Cell At Sing Sing". New York City: WCBS. September 5, 2013. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Child Abductor Sal Inghilleri Dies in Jail". New York Post. New York City. Associated Press. February 21, 2009. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Givens, Ann (January 13, 2013). "Katie Beers recounts kidnapping ordeal, 20 years later". Newsday. New York City / Long Island. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  16. ^ "Katie Beers: Kidnapping allowed me to escape abuse". CBS News. Associated Press. January 15, 2013. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  17. ^ Bernstein, Alyssa. "'Saved' on '20/20' Airing Friday, February 8 on ABC". ABC News. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  18. ^ Lovece, Frank (October 25, 2020). "LI's Katie Beers to describe kidnapping on 'Killer Carnies'". Newsday. New York City / Long Island. Retrieved October 25, 2020.