10:41 AM EST, January 16, 2013
Katie Beers was the victim in a horrifying kidnap case. Her very name is synonymous with a nightmarish ordeal.
Now, Beers is telling her story for the first time.
Beers told INSIDE EDITION's Megan Alexander, "I celebrated my 10th birthday in a dungeon."
Beers was just nine when she was kidnapped by a family friend who lured her to his house in Bay Shore, Long Island. What happened there defies belief.
She said, “He carried me down the stairs kicking and screaming.”
She was kept chained by the neck in a soundproof dungeon that he built.
Alexander asked, “You were chained around the neck?”
"Yes, it was literally right around my neck and he had it relatively tight. I remember I could lay my head down on a pillow, but trying to move I wasn't able to. "
Concealed under a 200-pound concrete trapdoor, the underground hellhole was 2' x 3' x 7.'
"The room that I was held in was so tiny, it was a little box, you could not even stand up. The only light I had was from the TV, and the TV was on 24-7. I watched MTV a lot, I watched the news coverage a lot and on MTV, they were always playing the song, Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You.' So, to this day, that song bothers me a bit," said Beers.
An FBI agent described it as something out of Silence of the Lambs.
The kidnaper, John Esposito, had lured her there with promises of a present for her 10th birthday.
"He was telling me that he was going to kill himself or he was going to take his own life in some way, but, not to worry, he had instructions in his safe where I can be found. If he decided to take his own life, he was going to pin a note to himself," said Beers.
Exactly twenty years ago, he confessed his terrible crime and led cops to the dungeon where Beers had been imprisoned for 17 days.
"I couldn't believe that I was actually going to be released. I thought that he was bringing so-called friends down to abuse me further," she said.
A photo shows the wood-framed dungeon being lifted out of the ground by cops.
After Beers was freed, it was revealed she had had a terribly troubled home life. She says she had been abused and neglected, even going barefoot most of the time. Beers was placed with a loving foster family.
Now 30, she has built a new life for herself. She is married with two children of her own. She keeps a folder of aging newspaper clippings about her nightmare.
And she has a stunning take about her kidnapping.
"This was the best thing that ever happened to me. The abduction brought me to my parents who I love and adore to this day," said Beers.
Alexander replied, "That is your foster family?"
"Yes," said Beers.
Beers has just written a book about her ordeal, Buried Memories. TV journalist Carolyn Gusoff is co-author.
Gusoff said, "To a little girl to come out of this as a success story is an inspiration."
A story of courage and inspiration arising out of a horrific crime.