I was so compelled by Tanya Kach's story of ten years in captivity, her will to survive and move forward in Memoirs of a Milk Carton Kid, I not only selected it as last week's Book of the Week on the Book Shelf blog, but also was inspired to profile Tanya herself.
The story of a troubled teen listed as a runaway turned sex slave and missing person began when Tanya was 14. With no mother in her life and living in a dysfunctional household, she'd fallen prey to Thomas Hose, a man 25 years her senior and a crossing guard at the middle school Tanya attended.
Hose had initially made Tanya "feel special" and she believed he would protect her...but what began under the stairs at her school would end as ten long years hidden in a second-floor bedroom at a home in McKeesport, PA Hose shared with his aging parents.
In the beginning, she stood in that room 24 hours a day, with only a bucket to use as a toilet. Tanya stood and obeyed Hose because she believed she was in love with him at first, and then because she feared him ("You didn't cross Tom."). One Christmas Eve, she had to stay in the room's closet.
Hose had her memorize which floorboards squeaked in the room where she was held by literally showing her each one, telling her to avoid them. She was brainwashed in other ways by her captor, one belief instilled in her mind that her own family no longer wanted her.
When Tanya was older, Hose colored her hair and called her Nikki Evans. He began to let Tanya/Nikki out of the house for restricted periods, and she got to know Joe Sparico, owner of a nearby convenience store, J.J.’s Deli Mart. Sparico would play a role in Tanya's rescue when, then 24, she confessed her real identity to him and told her ten-year ordeal as Hose's hostage.
Thomas Hose pled guilty to Tanya's abduction and is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence. He is eligible for parole in February 2012.
Now 29 and five years after her amazing rescue, Tanya is pursuing an associate's degree, She recently bought her own home and aims to become a real estate agent. Though she does have some health issues as the result of the decade of captivity, Tanya's present goals are promoting her book - which was written with her attorney Lawrence Fisher - and planning to wed her fiance, Carl.
Tanya also wants Memoirs of a Milk Carton Kid to be a helpful tool for those who find themselves in abusive situations, despite still struggling with what happened to her.
Buy Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid Online: