Woman Kidnapped at 9 and Chained Inside Makeshift Coffin Details Escape

A quarter century after she was held in a makeshift coffin for 17 days, Katie Beers opened up about her harrowing story in a Reddit AMA Thursday.

Beers was 9 years old when she was abducted by family friend John Esposito on Dec. 28, 1992, luring her with a gift for her birthday, in New York.

But instead of gifts, he locked her in a dungeon he built for her under his garage.

Esposito sexually abused Beers while holding her captive just feet from a police command post, notes The Daily Mail. No one could hear her screams since the dungeon was under a 200 pounds of concrete slab.

In her AMA, Beers said she should have been in foster care even before her ordeal. She said she was sexually abused by her aunt's husband.

"I should have been in foster care from the time that I was 2 or even younger," Beers wrote. "I was sexually abused by my 'aunt's' husband from the time that I was 2 until I was abducted by a 'family friend' when i was almost 10. I was also physically, emotionally and verbally abused by all of the adults who were supposed to take care of me as well as neglected. [Child Protective Services] did come to the house to do interviews with me, but it's difficult to be truthful with CPS workers when they're interviewing you in the house where the abuse is occurring in the exact room where it was occurring."

The "aunt" Beers was referring to is her godmother, Linda Inghilleri. Beers said Inghilleri's husband, Salvatore, sexually abused her and she was treated like a "slave." Esposito was a friend of the family, and nicknamed "Big Jim."

After she was kidnapped, Beers managed to call Inghilleri to say she was taken. When hearing that police were possibly closer to finding Beers, Esposito tried to take a picture of her when she was asleep to make it look like she was dead. However, she tried to stay away as much as possible so he couldn't get the picture he wanted.

In her AMA, Beers discussed the sexual abuse she faced during the 17 days. She said the kidnapper sexually assaulted her on the first day of the ordeal.

Esposito confessed to police, and received 15 years to life in prison. However, he was never charged for the rape and sexual assault of Beers. He died in custody in 2013.

In 2013, Beers wrote Buried Memories: My Story with Carolyn Gusoff. While writing the book, she had to re-experience some of the memories she tried to block out.

"There are times that my memory is more clear about the day I was abducted," Beers wrote on Reddit. "As part of my coping mechanism, I blocked out the experience. When working on Buried Memories, I had to allow myself to re-experience the memories. There are things that will randomly trigger my memories, and I've learned how to deal with them."

Beers, now 34 and married with two children, continued, "I believe that anyone who experiences a trauma, of any size, can suffer from PTSD. I've been able talk about my experiences with professionals — so I'm hoping that PTSD will not impact my life. I'm not saying that it won't, there's always the possibility for something to trigger PTSD — but having the coping mechanisms help! My (foster) parents and (foster) siblings were invaluable to me during my recovery."

In 2013, Beers told 20/20 she finally has what she's wanted in life.


"My life is exactly what I always wanted: two parents who love me, siblings who are amazing, and a husband and two kids," Beers said at the time.

Photo credit: CNN