Who are Thomas Hose and Tanya Kach? Explained

Who are Thomas Hose and Tanya Kach? Explained

In 2006, Tanya Kach reappeared after going missing for a full decade. Almost 30 years after the incident, her story is now being told in the Lifetime movie The Girl Locked Upstairs: The Tanya Kach Story. But what really happened to Kach, and how did she escape from her captor?

Tanya Kach’s background

In 1996, Tanya Kach was in a difficult time in her life. She didn’t have the best relationship with her mother, whom she claimed was abusive toward her. Her parents had just divorced, and it was decided that she would be living with her father and his fiancee in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, about 15 miles from where she originally lived. The transition was tough for the 14-year-old. She felt neglected by her father and experienced bullying at her new school, Cornell Middle School. It was at that same school where she met 38-year-old security guard Thomas Hose.

Kach turned to drinking, smoking, and cutting classes. She found a confidant in Hose, who she often talked to about her problems. Unbeknownst to her, the security guard didn’t have pure intentions. Kach said that Hose gave her money to purchase cigarettes and jewelry. He also didn’t report her when he caught her cutting classes. This odd “friendship” between the minor and Hose went on for months before Kach went missing. In retrospect, Kach said that Hose groomed and took advantage of her when she was vulnerable.

What happened to her when she disappeared?

Kach had been thinking of running away from home and told Hose about her plan. He told her that she could come and live with him.  On Feb. 10, 1996, Kach’s parents reported her missing. Hose brought Kach home with him to a house where he lived with his parents and son. Kach soon realized that the man she trusted wasn’t who she thought he was. She was hidden in a second-floor bedroom and was prohibited from leaving.

The other people in the house did not know that there was a teenager living with them. According to Kach, she was told not to make noise and was even shown which floorboards creaked to avoid them. Hose threatened to kill her and her family if she ever attempted to flee or told anyone, and this frightened her into submission. Kach was also sexually abused while she was held captive.

In 2000, Hose finally permitted Kach to leave the bedroom, but only when other people weren’t at home. By that time, Kach said that she was brainwashed, and she made sure not to stray from Hose’s orders. She was allowed to leave the home but was expected to return at a specific time, and she complied. Hose also gave her a new identity — Nikki Allen. Eventually, Hose introduced Kach to his parents as his girlfriend and told them that she’d be living with them. 

The escape

While out of the house, Kach had a glimpse of what a loving family looked like. She got a part-time job at a convenience store, J.J.’s Deli Mart, where she met owner Joe Sparico, his wife Janet, and their daughter. Kach said that Hose didn’t know that she was working. He thought she just hung out a lot at the convenience store. While there, Kach built a friendship with the Sparicos. 

After eight months, she confided in Joe and told her about the life she had been living for the last decade. She told him about her real identity and even said to check online for missing children, “you will see a picture of me there,” Kach reportedly said. Joe said that Kach was shaking while telling him her story. Janet said that she didn’t see signs of physical abuse, but said that she seemed brainwashed when they talked. Joe called the authorities and it was confirmed that Kach was reported missing in 1996. Hose was then arrested.

What happened to Thomas Hose?

In June 2007, Hose pleaded guilty to several charges, including statutory sexual assault, endangering the welfare of children, indecent assault, aggravated indecent assault, corruption of a minor, interference with custody of children, and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. He was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison and was released in 2022 after serving his full sentence. Kach is regularly updated about Hose’s whereabouts.

Tanya Kach today

Tanya and Karl, Photo via Tanya Kach/Instagram

Kach reunited with her family after her escape but today, she is estranged from her parents. In 2011, she released a book titled Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid: The Tanya Nicole Kach Story. In it, she wrote that she became an easy target for Hose, as she felt neglected by her father.

In response, her father sued her for defamation over her statements. By that time, the father and daughter had not spoken for a few years, as Kach said that she felt that her father said she was partially at fault for her being kidnapped. The outcome of the suit is not known.

Kach went on to get her GED and pursued a college education afterward. Today, she is happily married to Karl McCrum, whom she said has been a great and supportive partner. The two tied the knot in 2018. She also raises awareness about psychological manipulation and shares her story with anyone who would listen.

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