Making the honor roll and going to Disney World would make a pretty good year for any 11-year-old. Even more so for Katie Beers, who spent her 10th birthday chained in a dungeon.

Beers has adjusted well to her new life with the foster family that has cared for her since the story of her sad, squalid existence surfaced a year ago."Katie is developing into a nice young lady," said a friend of the foster family, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "She is getting a lot of attention and love."

Katie disappeared Dec. 28, 1992. John Esposito, 44, a family friend, told police she vanished from a Long Island video arcade where he had taken her to celebrate her 10th birthday.

While police searched for her, a dismal portrait of Katie's life emerged.

She was shuttled between her mother, an unemployed taxi driver, and an invalid godmother. An unwashed, skinny waif with straggly hair and skimpy clothes, other children called her "the Cockroach Kid" after she was sent home from school for head lice.

She was seen dragging hefty baskets of clothes to the laundromat and roamed the streets at all hours, once barefoot in the snow.

Sixteen days after Katie was reported missing, Esposito led police to a bunker he constructed beneath his garage where he had been holding Katie prisoner. Esposito was charged with kidnapping and sexual abuse and is in jail.

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Katie was taken in by a foster family in Long Island.

Katie's life is structured, secure and stable - a far cry from the one she left behind.

She has gained weight and has learned to take care of basics like combing her hair and brushing her teeth every day. She also learned to swim and ski.

"Her day is much like any other 11-year-old girl," said the friend.

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