Yesterday marked 25 years since Katie Beers was abducted by a family friend — and then held in an underground bunker for 17 days. Katie, who was nine years old at the time, took part in a reddit AMA to candidly discuss her traumatizing experience. According to the now-35-year-old married mom, the abuse she endured only made her stronger.
“I am a survivor of physical, emotional, verbal, mental and sexual abuse. 25 years ago today, I made national headlines on Dec. 28, 1992 when a close family friend abducted me when I was nine years old. He then held me captive for 17 horrendous days in an underground bunker built specifically for me,” she wrote. “On Jan. 13, 1993, John Esposito, my abductor, finally broke down and told his lawyers that he had abducted me. The abduction changed my life forever in many ways, including creating an opportunity for a better life. After my abduction, I was placed in a foster home, where I should have been for years, receiving love, support, stability, structure, and psychological care.”
While she detailed the torture Esposito put her though in her 2013 New York Times bestselling memoir, Buried Memories, Katie shed new light on her abduction with curious reddit users. Here, In Touch rounded up the most interesting things we learned about Katie and her kidnapping from her AMA.
Katie is not a fan of Dr. Phil.
When asked about her 2013 appearance on Dr. Phil to promote her book, Katie revealed that her interview with the daytime TV personality was a huge disappointment. “He wanted to promote his book more than anything to do with me or my book (the whole reason I was appearing on the show),” she wrote. “We also felt that he had no idea what my story was about – he didn't seem educated on who he was interviewing – it was kinda sad, really!”
Katie has never returned to Spaceplex — the indoor amusement park she was abducted at.
Esposito kidnapped Katie at Spaceplex, luring her with promises of birthday gifts — only to take her to a 6-foot-by-7-foot concrete bunker under the garage at his Bay Shore, NY, home, where she was trapped for more than two weeks. Though she was offered a “proper birthday party” at Spaceplex after she was found, Katie declined — and has never returned. However, she still feels “terrible that they lost business because of this & they closed!”
Katie used to block out her painful memories as a “coping mechanism.”
In response to a question about potentially suffering from PTSD, Katie said that she has steered clear of the disorder because she has her loved ones to lean on. However, she tried her best to forget the details of her abduction…until she wrote her tome.
“There are times that my memory is more clear about the day I was abducted. 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,” she explained. “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.”
Katie’s abductor admitted to raping her right before he died.
Though Esposito wasn’t charged with the crime, Katie has said that he raped her during her captivity. And, according to Katie, he finally admitted to it just before his death in 2013. “After he met with the parole board, and finally admitting to sexually abusing and raping me, he died hours later in his cell,” she wrote. “My abductor died of natural causes (or at least that is what was released to the public). I will say that he wouldn't give an interview to my co-author and begged her to not write Buried Memories with me because whenever my story would be in the news & the in-mates were 'reminded' of who he was and what he did, that they would make his life a living hell.”
Katie says her abduction has made her an “overly cautious” mother.
Katie described her parenting style when a fan asked if her kidnapping has had an impact on the way she interacts with new people. “I am overly cautious – especially with people that enter my children's lives,” she wrote. “I try to always see the good in people, but when the kids are involved, I need to be cautious! I try to not allow my experiences to shadow the good in people.”
Katie currently works as an insurance saleswoman, but hopes to do more motivational speaking.
While discussing her current career goals, Katie wrote, “I would love to break more into motivational speaking. I've enjoyed the speeches that I've given over the past almost 5 years. I'm enjoying my time with my children and taking the speaking as it comes!”