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The man convicted of a 1992 abduction of then 10-year-old Katie Beers was found dead in his prison cell the state Department of Corrections said Thursday.
John Esposito abducted 10-year-old Katie Beers in 1992, keeping her captive in his New York suburban basement for 17 days before she was discovered. Serving a 15-year sentence for the conviction, his body was discovered unresponsive Wednesday night in a Sing Sing prison cell.
The death is under investigation but does not appear "suspicious," spokesperson Linda Foglia told Associated Press.
Beers was found alive in a bunker under Esposito's home on January 13, 1993. Prior to the kidnapping she had left a message on her grandmother's phone that she been taken by a "man with a knife." Beers later claimed that Esposito had raped her, although he was never charged for the crime.
News about Beers' kidnapping reached a national audience after it was revealed that the young girl had been neglected by her mother for years and sexually abused by her godmother's husband, according to AP.
Beers would later recount in a book that the abduction was the "best thing to happen" to her because it allowed her to escape years of abuse. Now a 30-year-old married mother of two who earned a degree in business management and works in insurance sales near her home in rural Pennsylvania, Beers released the book she helped to co-write earlier this year.
"There's no point really in me right now being sad or wondering what if," she told the AP in a previous interview about her book. "I try not to be sad about what happened, because ultimately it made me who I am today, and I'm very satisfied and happy with my life."
Medical responders attempted to revive at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday after his body was discovered unresponsive but were not successful. Esposito had just gone under his fourth parole review, although the decision regarding his release had not been made.