NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — John Esposito, the man convicted in the 1992 abduction of Katie Beers, was found dead in his cell at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining on Wednesday.
The 64-year-old was found shortly after a parole hearing, CBS 2 reported. Sing Sing spokeswoman Linda Foglia said it was his fourth board appearance in 20 years in prison.
It appears that Esposito died of natural causes, according to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. The county medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
Esposito was serving 15 years to life for kidnapping Beers and holding her captive in an underground dungeon in Bay Shore for 17 days.
“I’m saddened at the loss of a life, but at the same time I’m happy that John Esposito will never be granted parole or have the opportunity to hurt anyone ever again,” Beers said in a statement Wednesday night.
Beers, now 30, broke her silence on her ordeal back in January, granting an exclusive interview to CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan.
“I was more concerned with trying to get free and trying to survive. Looking back, it’s amazing to learn of the support I had from everybody,” Beers said during that interview. “The remembering has been difficult because I buried it for so long.”
Beers grew up in a profoundly neglected home where she was a victim of emotional and sexual abuse. Esposito, who was her neighbor, claimed that he loved her.
“I would never harm her. I like her, I loved her, really,” he said.
Esposito admitted to police on Jan. 13, 1993 that he had kidnapped Beers and showed them the dungeon.
“You had to roll the carpet back, and use a block and tackle to lift the 200-pound slab of concrete. She was in a secret room in his house,” authorities explained.
Beers dropped out of public sight after her rescue. She is now married with two children and earned a degree in business management.
“I’m in a more mature place. With hindsight it is easier to recall things. My life now, I’m married, work full-time and have two beautiful children,” she told CBS 2.
Esposito’s death follows the shocking suicide of an even more high-profile convict.
Ariel Castro, the man who held three Cleveland women captive for roughly a decade, committed suicide in a Ohio state prison facility, officials said early Wednesday morning.
Ohio corrections spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said Castro, 53, was found hanging in his cell around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio.
Prison medical staff performed CPR before Castro was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
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