“Before having children, I didn’t realize fully how wrong everything was that happened to me,” she said. “The abuse, the neglect, everything.”
Beers, who took her husband’s name but declined to provide it for reasons of privacy, has two children of her own, a 3-year-old boy and a 17-month-old girl. She said it took her a long time to admit that her own mother, Marilyn Beers, had not provided a stable home for her.
Beers spent much of her youngest years living with her godmother, Linda Inghilleri, who, she writes, treated her as “her slave.” With Beers’ biological father absent since before her birth, Inghilleri’s husband, Salvatore, appeared to be the closest thing to a father figure in her life at the time.
But he too mistreated her, sexually abusing Beers on several occasions. (Inghilleri would later be convicted of that crime. He died in prison in 2009.)
The Inghilleris, who lived in Bay Shore, also continued to allow Esposito to see Beers even after there were suggestions that he had abused her older brother, John.
Beers said she had taken her husband, Derek, to visit Esposito’s home when they were dating, showing him the two-story converted garage where she had been held.
“I wanted him to understand everything,” she said. “Because it’s who I am. It’s what makes me the woman I am today. There’s no point in hiding it.”
After the abduction, Beers lived with a foster family in East Hampton on Long Island who raised her as their own. Her foster father gave her away at her wedding; her children call her foster parents Grandma and Grandpa.
Beers studied business management in college, though for privacy reasons she declined to name the school, and met Derek as a junior while playing pool in a bar.
“He’s very into computers and technology so as soon as he found out my name he went out and Googled me,” she said. “But he never said anything about it until I told him.”
Beers severed most of her ties to her earlier life, though she said she does occasionally talk to her mother, Marilyn.
“I call to tell her the highlights of my life: I’m pregnant; I had the baby; the book is coming out,” she said. “Things like that.”
In an odd way, she said, the kidnapping saved her.
“If the kidnapping hadn’t have happened,” she said, “I don’t even want to think about where I would be, but I would have never graduated high school, I would have never graduated college, I might not even be here, living today, with the road that my life was bound to go down.”
Gusoff, who had covered the story of her kidnapping, approached her in 2008 about doing a follow-up. Beers instead suggested that they write a book. She had already decided she was ready.
“It was right after John’s first parole hearing — I told my dad that I really wanted to start writing the book,” she said.
Beers plans to become an inspirational speaker because, she said, “I want to let people know that no matter what you endure through life, there is something better if you want there to be.”