The Wisconsin teen who was kidnapped during an October home invasion in which her mom and dad were slain faces “a long road to recovery ahead,” said Katie Beers, who was kidnapped in December 1992 near her 10th birthday and locked for two weeks in an underground bunker in Bay Shore.
“Her process is going to be 10 times more difficult than mine was,” Beers, now 36, said of 13-year-old Jayme Closs — who was found alive in a rural part of the state — because Jayme was both abducted and her parents killed.
“She probably had not come to terms with the fact that her parents were shot and killed, because she was trying to stay alive,” Beers told Newsday in a telephone interview Saturday from her home in Central Pennsylvania. “She now not only has to grieve over the loss of her parents, but she also has to . . . come to a realization about the nightmare that she just endured for three months.”
Jayme escaped and was found Thursday. Police later arrested 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson on charges of kidnapping and homicide, according to The Associated Press. Patterson is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.
Jayme’s grandfather said Patterson had no connection to the family and didn’t know why he targeted them, the AP reported.
Sunday marks the 26-year anniversary of Beers’ rescue from the bunker in Bay Shore.
John Esposito, the kidnapper, died in prison in September 2013. At a parole hearing days before his death, he admitted having sexually abused Beers.
Beers has commiserated with other women who have been kidnapped and survived the experience, including Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Beers’ advice for Jayme?
"You need hope to survive. You need hope to go forward — not only you but your family as well,” Beers said.
Beers’ psychotherapist, Mary Bromley, told Newsday in 2013 that it took years of difficult, introspective work for Beers to begin to recover — if recovery is a possibility — from the abuse she withstood: molested by her godmother's husband, kidnapped by a family friend who imprisoned her in the dungeon, and hounded afterward upon living with a foster family on the East End.
Beers said on Saturday of a kidnap victim like Jayme: “They need to be able to talk about what happened when they're ready. They shouldn't talk about things until they're ready to.”
“I wasn't your normal 10 and 11-year-old girl. I unfortunately had a lot of sexual experience that I didn't want to have that made me at times not want to open up to people,” she said.
Beers said she’d be willing to speak with Jayme — but only when she was ready and wanted to.
“A part of me says yes, a part of me says no. The other part of me says if she or her family want to reach out to me, my contact, my email is not hard to find.”
A victim might want to “quarantine” the experience, she said and “might come out of the abduction not wanting to talk about” it.