Katie Beers' captor found dead at Ossining prison

September 5, 2013 11:08:58 AM PDT
It was a notorious kidnapping case that rattled Long Island and made news around the world.

10-year old Katie Beers was abducted and held captive for 17 days.

Now the man convicted of holding her prisoner in a Long Island dungeon has been found dead in his prison cell.

A state corrections spokeswoman says John Esposito was found unresponsive in his cell at Sing Sing on Wednesday. She says the death was under investigation but didn't appear to be suspicious.

He was serving a 15-to-life term for kidnapping Katie and hiding her seven feet below his Bay Shore, N.Y. home in 1992.

"He put me in this smaller room that was a coffin-size box," Katie told us back in May. Esposito told authorities he planned to 'raise her as my own daughter'.

Linda Foglia says a corrections officer observed Esposito "not breathing" around 3:30 p.m. at the Ossining, N.Y., facility.

He had appeared before the parole board earlier in the day.

Katie says when she received word of Esposito's death, she was indifferent.

"I've been preparing for this day for the past 20 years," she said. "Either for the news of him being released on parole, or him dying in prison."

Katie said she had mixed emotions about the man who, in a way, destroyed part of her childhood.

"It's always in the back of your mind like what if this time, the parole board says he's been in jail enough, let's let him out. I don't have to worry about that anymore."

She would later write about her agonizing experience, get married, and have two kids.

Now at age 30, she says that with Esposito's death, it's time to close another chapter in her life.

"I've had nothing but absolute support from strangers, from friends, from family. It's been phenomenal," she said.

Katie says she is now working as a motivational and inspirational speaker, that she is thoroughly enjoying her job, helping others who are, like she is, on the road to recovery.