Members sonaboy Posted March 24, 2006 Members Share Posted March 24, 2006 from the NYTimes: A girl who vanished more than 10 years ago was reunited yesterday with her mother in a Pittsburgh suburb two days after confiding to a store owner that she was being held captive, the police said. "I guess she just chose me to lean on," said Joe Sparico, owner of J. J.'s Deli Mart in McKeesport, Pa., where the young woman, Tanya Nicole Kach, broke into tears on Tuesday while telling him that she was living with a man against her will. "I'm just glad she's happy and home now." Ms. Kach, now 24, was 14 when she was reported missing on Feb. 10, 1996, after walking out of her father's house, two miles from where she said she had lived in secrecy. "We're investigating this further, but I have to tell you there is still a lot we need to figure out," said Charles Moffatt, superintendent of the Allegheny County Police Department. Ms. Kach said she had been living against her will with Thomas Hose, 48, a security guard at Cornell Intermediate School in McKeesport, where Ms. Kach was an eighth grader when she was reported missing, Mr. Moffatt said. For the first four years of captivity, she told the police, she was never permitted to leave the two-bedroom house, and Mr. Hose threatened to kill her if she told anyone about her captivity. Locked in his bedroom, she was often forced to use a metal can for a toilet, she said, and even though he shared the house with his parents and his 22-year-old son, he forbade anyone to let her out, Ms. Kach told Mr. Sparico. In later years, Ms. Kach said, she was allowed to leave during the day, but she said she never spoke about her situation because she believed Mr. Hose's threats. "I was so scared that nobody would believe me," Ms. Kach told WTAE-TV on Wednesday from the home of her father, Jerry Kach, in Elizabeth, a Pittsburgh suburb. Mr. Sparico said, "From the way she was shaking when she told me, I think she really believed he would do it." On Tuesday, after growing close to Mr. Sparico and his family over eight months, she revealed her secret. "If you go to a Web site for missing children, you will see a picture of me there," he said she told him. Mr. Sparico's wife, Janet, said Ms. Kach had told her in recent days that when she was in the eighth grade her parents were going through a contentious divorce and that she was convinced neither parent wanted her, leading her to run away. At the time, Ms. Kach said, she had a crush on Mr. Hose, and when she confided her plans to leave home, he offered to take her in, Ms. Sparico said. "After that, I guess he never let her go," she added. It was unclear why Ms. Kach did not seek help sooner, Superintendent Moffatt said, "but in my view, that part doesn't much matter, because you can't be 14 and make an adult decision that you want to be involved with an adult in this way." Mr. Hose's lawyer, James M. Ecker, said his client was innocent. Mr. Hose has been charged with one count of statutory sexual assault and three counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and released on $200 bail. "I think if the police believed she was being held against her will or that she was physically abused, they would have charged him with kidnapping or abuse," Mr. Ecker said. "But they didn't." A woman who answered the phone at Mr. Hose's house said she had no comment. Ms. Sparico said of Ms. Kach, "She was always well put together, like a little Barbie doll, and I never saw any signs of physical abuse." She added, "But I have spoken with her quite a bit and I think that she was really brainwashed by this guy." After Ms. Kach told her secret to Mr. Sparico, he said he immediately called his son Shawn, a retired detective with the McKeesport police who had worked on Ms. Kach's case. Interviewed by WTAE-TV, Ms. Kach's mother, Sherri Koehnke, said, "It's the best ending I could have thought about when I thought about what could have happened to her." :eek: Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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