TITLE: “Buried Memories”
AUTHOR: Katie Beers and Carolyn Gusoff
Do you like true stories? How about stories of child abuse and kidnapping? If you said yes, then this is the book for you to read.
Carolyn was the news reporter assigned to cover the Katie Beers kidnapping story in 1992. She shares the investigation and media side of the story as the case was being handled. Katie tells her brutal abuse story which is pretty graphic at times. She was 9 years old when she was taken but she didn’t share her story until 15 years later. Why did she keep silent for so long? Who was the kidnapper? What were the police doing to handle this case? Katie and Carolyn met for the first time in 2007 when Katie was ready to come forward with her story. Before the kidnapping occurred she and her younger brother, John, led an abusive childhood in the home, was bullied at school, and neglected within her home. She did not attend school on a regular basis, but was responsible for household chores and did whatever her mother ordered her to do. Neighbors described Katie as neglected and unkempt, as she didn’t even have shoes or hats for the winter. She lacked the basic teaching of hygiene as well which meant more bullying when she did go to school. Why was Katie treated like this by her family and family friends? Why didn’t an adult step in and do something? She, her brother, and mother lived with the grandma while the mother worked three jobs but things changed drastically.
An underground human vault became her home on Dec. 26, 1992. There was no light, no clock, no sleep, no bathroom facilities but a TV was provided for her. The vault or bunker, as it was referred to, was seven feet underground. Once reaching that level she entered a tunnel into a room with two coffin like chambers. She was kept in the smaller one for twenty three hours a day. (3 feet high by 2 feet wide) Of course everything was soundproof, so when police did come to the kidnapper’s house they didn’t hear Katie screaming for help. There were many pictures shown of her bunker area where she lived for 16 days. Who was her kidnapper? Why did he do this? What plans did he have for Katie? What was the media and police force doing to investigate? Why were tapes made of Katie in the bunker? How much of the brutal sexual attacks could a nine year old girl endure? This kidnapper was given a 15 year sentence. Did he serve it?
One of Katie’s abusers started abusing Katie when she was just 2 years old. The abuse escalated for years with other family members as victims, too. He was given jail time, released, and back to abusing the family. He died before his 12-year sentence was fully served. Why did 9-year-old Katie have to take the stand in court for four long hours? Was that fair to her for all she had experienced in her young life?
How did Katie’s story reach into the courtroom and captured world wide attention?
Katie was fortunate to be placed into a loving, caring foster home who nurtured her into a positive life style she never knew. She had to be taught all the basic things including brushing her teeth. Her new family with four children already welcomed Katie and taught her responsibility, trust, values and principles she never had known. She learned that hard work, dedication, and practice had some satisfying pay offs. The greatest gift from her new family was time, she said, because they were involved in her everyday life.
Did Katie stay in touch with her biological mother, brother John, or the abusive aunt? Why did Katie wait so long to tell her story? What happened to the bunker? What is Katie’s adult life like today? How do survivors like Katie recover from such horrible trauma? Does recovery come by remembering or denying horrors of the past? There is so much more to tell and so many questions to be answered so you need to read the book yourself.