John Esposito kept 9-year-old Katie Beers locked in dungeon for 17 days: Killer Carnies investigates

Mugshot of John Esposito
John Esposito kept Katie Beers hidden in his dungeon for 17 days before he finally confessed to the police. Pic credit: NY State Dept. of Corrections

Killer Carnies is investigating the 1992 child abduction of Katie Beers from an amusement park at Bay Shore on Long Island, NY.

On December 30, 1992, 9-year-old Katie was snatched, a couple of days before her tenth birthday, by family friend and neighbor John Esposito, who reportedly lured her with the promise of a birthday present.

She was held for 17 days in a bunker, constructed specifically to hold Katie by Esposito under his Bay Shore home. The bunker was 6-foot-by-7-foot and contained a toilet, TV, mattress, and chains to restrain the child. During her time in captivity, Esposito sexually assaulted her.

Esposito was a former construction worker, and he had spent months building his twisted dungeon at the expense of $5,000.

The authorities were first alerted to the kidnapping when Katie managed to leave a message on her godmother’s answering machine saying, “I’ve been kidnapped by a man with a knife.”

John Esposito came under suspicion almost immediately; the Beers family’s friend had already had a run-in with the law when he had previously attempted to snatch a 7-year-old from a shopping mall.

John Esposito cracked under police pressure

On January 13, 1993, Esposito admitted to the police that he had the girl locked up and agreed to reveal her whereabouts to the officers.

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Further investigation into Katie’s circumstances revealed she was growing up in a home that was extremely neglectful and that she had suffered physical, sexual, and emotional abuse for a long time before the kidnap ordeal.

She was subsequently put into foster care. Today, she is now married with two children and has earned a degree in business management. She later wrote a memoir titled Buried Memories, where she documented her experiences.

In 1994, Esposito was sentenced to 15 years to life in jail. In 2013, the 64-year-old was found dead in his jail cell, having passed away from natural causes. He had spent 20 years behind bars and died just before going in front of the parole board for his fourth time.

More from Investigation Discovery

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on ID.

Previously on Killer Carnies, the team profiled the murder of Grady Stiles, aka Lobster Boy, a freak show performer who was shot dead at his home in Florida. Stiles was despised by many in the carnie community leading to a real whodunnit case for officers.

In 2009, Terri Lynne McClintic lured 9-year-old Tori Stafford into the car of Michael Rafferty. They then took the kidnapped girl into the woods, where they raped and tortured her before beating her to death with a hammer.

Killer Carnies airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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