Tanya Kach: Where is the Kidnapping Survivor Now?

Investigation Discovery’s ‘People Magazine Investigates: Held Captive: The Disappearance of Tanya Kach’ features the decade-long ordeal of an author and survivor, Tanya Nicole Kach-McCrum. She was only 14 when she was held captive for a decade from early 1996 to early 2006 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. The brave survivor recalls the aftermath and how she bypassed her trauma on the show, encouraging other survivors to embrace the same energy. If you’re interested in learning more, here’s what we know.

Who Is Tanya Kach?

Born on October 14, 1981, Tanya Nicole Kach-McCrum was a 14-year-old eighth-grade student at Cornell Middle School in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, in February 1996. During the autumn of 1995, she faced a series of changes surpassing the typical teenage experience. She had recently begun attending middle school in McKeesport while adapting to a new life following her parents’ divorce. Tanya’s biological father, Jerry Kach, and Jo-Ann Kach — Jerry’s then-fiancée and Tanya’s future stepmother — became her caretakers.

Tanya recounted a strained relationship with Jo-Ann. She said she often felt isolated and unloved since her biological mother was violent, abusive, and rarely present. During this time, Tanya explained she engaged in vices like underage drinking, smoking cigarettes, and using marijuana. She formed a connection with Thomas “Tom” Hose, the erstwhile school security guard, then 38. She recalled how her unlikely companion bought her cigarettes and candy. She remembered, “He listened to my problems and made me laugh.”

Tanya recalled how she was often bullied by other children in school and thus often skipped classes to escape the harassment. However, Tom caught her bunking school one day but, to her surprise, promised not to report the incident. She added, “That’s when he leaned in and kissed me. I thought I was in love with him.” Weeks later, the erstwhile security guard lured the teenager into his elderly parents’ house in McKeesport, where he lived in a room upstairs, in February 1996. She never imagined that she would be imprisoned there for a decade.

In the first four years, Tom confined her in the bedroom and permitted her to leave only when his parents were asleep or absent. He provided her with a bucket in case of bathroom needs and spent her days reading magazines, watching television, and eating his dinner leftovers. She spent the holidays confined within the closet. When she turned 18, she was allowed to leave the residence and work a part-time job at a local convenience store. Over the following five years, Tom presented Tanya to his parents as Nikki Diane Allen, his live-in partner.

During the last ten months of her decade-long ordeal, Tom granted her visits to JJ’s Deli Mart, where he formed a friendship with the owner, Joe Sparico. Aware of Tom’s age and his profound control over her, Joe sensed something amiss. He contacted the authorities after she disclosed her true identity to him on March 21, 2006, after getting overwhelmed with emotions. Hours later, the police arrived at Tom’s residence and rescued Tanya after confirming her identity. Upon arriving at the police station, the officers handed her to her father.

Where Is Tanya Kach Now?

Tanya recalled how her horrors were more than over even after she safely reached her father’s home. The media soon gathered, and her horrifying experience garnered national headlines. She remembered, “Worse yet was the public’s reaction to my story. I was at the grocery store one day, and this woman walked up to me and said, ‘I ought to slap you.’ I said, ‘What?’ She said, ‘You tramp.’ I said, ‘You don’t know what I went through.'” However, her reunion with her father was short-lived in March 2006.

Tanya stated, “Behind closed doors, things went downhill again. My dad started blaming me for what happened, saying, ‘You knew what you were doing.’ I said, ‘Dad, I was 14.'” She published a book, ‘Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid,’ with co-author Lawrence H. Fisher, where she wrote about her life before, during, and after her ordeal. In the book, Tanya alleged her turbulent childhood made her easy prey for Tom, and even said in an interview, “If my father would have paid attention and been a father to me, this never would have happened to me.”

Her father and stepmother sued her in June 2012, with their attorney claiming, “The Kaches believe the evidence will show that they have been defamed and directly harmed by untrue statements made in the book and seek to be vindicated through this legal action.” Tanya stated she had not talked with her father in the past three years and added, “Why he’s suing me, I don’t know, and it breaks my heart. When I got the papers yesterday, I was like, ‘What?'” She also claimed despite popular notions, she did not get rich from publishing her book.

According to reports, Tanya attempted to sue numerous government organizations for their failing of her, including the police and school board, though the courts dismissed them all. Through her September 2018 marriage, she has a stepdaughter and stepson and is a grandmother to her stepson’s young children. The 41-year-old is a vocal activist for all women suffering from trauma, stating there is hope even after such severe ordeals. She said, “I’m proof of that. I went through the darkest times. Look at me now.”

Read More: Where is Thomas Hose Now?