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10-year captive Kach's book details 'unimaginable ordeal'

| Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011

After 10 years of silence, Tanya Nicole Kach has found her voice.

Kach spent a decade as a captive in the McKeesport home of former middle school security guard Thomas Hose, who told her what to wear, what to eat, how to behave and when to speak.

Hose convinced Kach, 14, that no one loved or cared for her but him, and she agreed to run away to his house in February 1996 — a decision that began what she calls an "unimaginable ordeal."

He changed her name to Nikki Diane Allen, telling her Tanya no longer existed. Finally, in March 2006, Kach found the courage to reveal her identity to a McKeesport deli owner, securing her rescue and Hose's prosecution.

Kach, who turns 30 this week, wrote a 213-page book with her former attorney, Lawrence Fisher of the North Side, about her years of imprisonment and her life since. Oklahoma-based Tate Publishing and Enterprises will release on Tuesday her "Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid, The Tanya Nicole Kach Story."

She wants people to know she's happy and doing well. Despite those who didn't support her or doubted her story, Kach said she refuses to be silent or allow anyone to control her any longer.

"Recovery is a process, not an event. I celebrate it all the time. Whatever awaits me, I'm optimistic. On top of everything I have suffered, remaining optimistic makes my life less ordinary and provides me with the strength to overcome any hardship," Kach writes in her book.

To promote the book's release, Kach granted interviews. She told her story for a two-part episode of the "Dr. Phil" reality/talk television show that CBS will air on Tuesday and Wednesday. She also answered questions for local and national newspapers, television stations and radio outlets.

In the past five years, Kach has earned her high school General Equivalency Diploma, learned to drive, bought a house, started college classes and fallen in love.

Hose, 53, is serving a five- to 15-year sentence in a prison near Harrisburg on child-sex offense charges. Corrections officials could parole him as early as next spring.

"I'm doing good. I'm fine. I'm alive," Kach said during her interview with host Phil McGraw, taped last month in Los Angeles.

Kach underwent years of therapy to confront panic attacks, anxiety, bouts of anorexia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She told McGraw she had to walk away from relationships with friends whom she believed used her notoriety for their gain.

Her father, she said, doubted her account of the 10 years she spent as Hose's captive and repeatedly asked her why she didn't leave. She cut Jerry Kach out of her life in 2009. The Tribune-Review could not reach him for comment.

"It broke my heart that I had to cut ties with him, but I didn't need the negativity in my life," she told McGraw. "When I was with Tom, it never crossed my mind that I could run away. I was so brainwashed."

Since regaining her freedom, Kach has struggled when strangers approached her and called her a liar.

"I was in the Giant Eagle cereal aisle, and a woman walked up and said: ''I oughta just slap you. You're nothing but a little whore,' " Kach told McGraw. "I told her she wasn't in my shoes and doesn't know what I went through."

She received no medical care while living in Hose's bedroom and emerged with a host of medical problems. She writes in her book about undergoing dental surgeries for decaying teeth. She had a full hysterectomy. Last year, she spent several days hospitalized for blood clots in her lungs and likely will take a blood-thinning drug for life.

"I can't believe what I went through in that room, but I'm stronger now because of what I went through," she said.

Despite her medical problems, Kach took a job three years ago at a Kmart, where she met fiance Karl McCrum.

"He said he knew who I was and that I was going through a lot of crap, so we just agreed to go to Denny's," she said on the show. "We started as friends, and we just fell in love along the way. He's my rock."

Kach has assumed the role of stepmother to McCrum's two teenage children. She bought a home in Clairton in April, according to property records. She is studying for an associate degree in business management, but last was enrolled in classes at Community College of Allegheny County in fall 2010, according to school officials.

"She has taken a tragedy in her life and turned it into a positive force," Fisher said.

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