Being kidnapped is one of my worst fears. I am very paranoid about it, especially with all the news going on lately. I’m always paying close attention in parking lots and trying to avoid going out alone at night. However, not all kidnappings are the simple grab and take in a creepy van. Some of them take longer and involve a much more complicated story. Nothing is always as it seems. Sometimes, people don’t even realize they are being kidnapped. In 1996, this was something Tanya Kach had to face.
Tanya Kach grew up in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. She did not have the greatest life growing up. She lived with her father and her stepmother. They didn’t have a lot of money. But her childhood got much more complicated when she disappeared on February 10, 1996. She was only 14 years old.
She was dating Thomas Hose at the time of her kidnapping. According to other students, Hose was very popular at Cornell Middle School. All of the girls loved him and thought he was cute. No other guy could compete. This seems like a totally normal popular middle school guy. However, he wasn’t in middle school. He was a 37 year old man. Hose worked as a security guard at the school. He liked younger girls. Weirdly enough, he never had any complaints against him from the students, parents, or teachers. He was even considered a model employee by many.
He was known to talk to the girls quite often. He wore tight pants and more than enough cologne. He lived at home with his parents and had been divorced. The year before her disappearance, Tanya and Hose ran into each other in the hallway. Before long, they were kissing. While they weren’t supposed to be together, they didn’t try hard to hide their relationship after that. Because of her problems at home, Tanya fell right into Hose’s trap. She was soon overcome with love for this man.
On February 10, 1996, Tanya packed her bags and left her home. She wanted to be with Hose. Unfortunately, Tanya’s parents just assumed she had run away like she had done in the past. They didn’t file a police report until she had been missing for a few weeks. They hadn’t heard from her, and she wasn’t usually gone this long. They were beginning to worry. With no word from her and her history of running away, the police soon gave up on their search.
Ten years went by. A woman who called herself Nikki Allen went to a deli close to Hose’s house. This is when she confessed everything. She told the owner she was a prisoner of Thomas Hose and her name was Tanya. Tanya was 24 at this point. The news quickly spread of her escape and return. Everyone wanted to know the story of what happened to Tanya Kach. Her father was shocked to learn he had been just a few miles away the whole time.
Tanya was kept in the bedroom of Thomas Hose. His parents lived in the house with him the whole 10 years she was there. However, they claimed they didn’t know she was there for the first 9 years. Tanya said she was told to keep as quiet as possible. She had to hide in the closet if she heard someone coming. She was stuck reading and watching TV all day to keep herself occupied. After 9 years, she was introduced to Hose’s parents as his girlfriend. Hose soon became more comfortable introducing her to other people in his life as Nikki. She was allowed to leave to go shopping or to go to church. No one knew her as Tanya though.
Her friends at church picked up on how bad the relationship was with her boyfriend and told her she should get help. They encouraged her to build a life of her own. She listened to them and took in what they said. With this, she got the courage to tell someone who she really was.
In 2006, Hose was ordered to stand trial for his crimes including statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of a minor, and a few more charges. He pleaded not guilty and was put under house arrest, which is kind of ironic considering that’s where Tanya was kept as well. Just before his trial, Thomas Hose stabbed himself. He was treated and taken to a mental hospital. In 2007, he plead guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison.
Tanya Kach isn’t much different from many other kidnapping cases. The main difference is how she was taken. She was taken over a period of time. She was lured in by a predator. Many question why she didn’t leave sooner. She was in love with her captor in the beginning, but it soon turned to fear. She was afraid for herself. She was also told her family would be killed if she left. As a young woman, she felt stuck in her situation.
Tanya is doing well today. She wrote a book about her experience called Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid: The Tanya Nicole Kach Story. She is now estranged from her father. As of 2012, she was engaged to be married.
Most information was taken from True Stories of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit by Kevin Dwyer and Jure Fiorillo.
Side note: This is an awesome book especially if you love Law & Order: SVU as much as I do. Highly recommend.