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Judge Denies Godmother Custody of Katie Beers

April 13, 1993

BAY SHORE, N.Y. (AP) _ The godmother of a 10-year-old girl held captive in a dungeon by an acquaintance for 16 days has been denied custody of the child.

A sobbing Linda Inghilleri, who raised Katie Beers from infancy, said Tuesday she would continue her custody fight. ″I’ve been pushed aside,″ she said.

On Monday, Suffolk County Family Court Judge James F.X. Doyle dismissed Inghilleri’s petition for custody, ruling she had no standing in the case because she was a ″legal stranger″ to Katie.

″Stranger? I was loving Katie when no one cared about her, before her name was in the headlines,″ Inghilleri said in a telephone interview.

Katie is living with a foster family on Long Island while her mother, Marilyn Beers, also fights for custody. Authorities oppose returning custody to Beers, a 44-year-old cab driver, saying she neglected her daughter and allowed her abuse.

On Dec. 28, Katie was reported missing by a family friend, John Esposito, 43, after he had picked her up from Inghilleri’s house for a birthday outing. She was found 16 days later in an underground bunker under Esposito’s Bay Shore home. Esposito is being held on kidnapping and sex abuse charges.

Inghilleri’s husband, Sal, also was charged with sexually molesting Katie.

Katie returned to live permanently with Beers about a year before she was kidnapped.

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