Pennsylvania Woman Held Captive for 10 Years Finally Goes to Prom

PHOTO: Tanya Kach, 31, went to the prom she never had on June 1, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Penn. Kach was held captive for 10 years when she was 14 years old, beginning in 1996.PlayCourtesy Tanya Kach
WATCH Woman Held Captive for 10 Years Gets Prom Wish

Tanya Kach remembers thinking about prom when she was around 18 years old in 2000. She remembers crying about it because instead of going to prom or school, she was four years into what would be a decade of captivity in a Pennsylvania home.

"I did think about it, many times, and I sat there and I cried knowing that I couldn't go," Kach, now 31, told today.

On Saturday, Kach of Clairton, Pa., got to experience the prom she never had.

"I was so ecstatic to finally do something that I missed and it felt like a hole inside of me was filled because it was something that was missing all those years," she said. "One of my dreams came true and I got to go to the prom with the man that I love."

Kach's fiance, Karl McCrum, heard about a "second chance prom" on the radio last year that was going to be held for people who had either had bad prom experiences or never got to go.

McCrum, 42, called in to the radio show and told them he was engaged to Kach, the woman who had disappeared as a 14-year-old and held captive by a security guard at her school for 10 years before escaping in 2006.

Her captor pleaded guilty to statutory rape and other offenses and was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison in 2007. He was denied parole in March 2012.

The radio station immediately agreed to give them tickets. But the prom was not held last year because there were not enough participants. Earlier this year, howeve, McCrum heard the radio announcement for the prom again and called in.

He got tickets and the prom was held Saturday aboard the Gateway Clipper Fleet at Station Square in Pittsburgh,

Kach and McCrum went shopping for a dress and then got him a suit to match.

"Then he surprised me and came home with the corsage and rose for him," Kach said. "He made sure it was white roses because he knows that's my favorite flower."

The couple boarded the boat and enjoyed an evening of dining and dancing.

"It was so wonderful and magical and awesome," Kach said. "It meant the world to me, it really did."

It was also meaningful to her fiance, who loves helping her experience the things that she missed while she was being held captive.

"There's a lot of important things that she missed," McCrum said. "It was just an opportunity to give her something that she didn't have."

He said they have had season passes to Kennywood Amusement Park for three years and while he's not crazy about rollercoasters, he loves watching Kach delight in the rides.

"I sit there and watch her on the rides and it brings tears to my eyes just how much fun she's having, that she missed all of that," he said.

Kach hopes that she can be an inspiration to others who have been through similar situations, like the three Cleveland women who were kidnapped and imprisoned for a decade before one escaped and was able to bring help for the others.

She said she has reached out to them and is more than willing to do anything she can to help them, if they want.

"When I escaped, there was nobody out there to say, 'Hey, I went through this too and I'm here for you,'" she said. "If somebody could have said that, I would've reached out and said, 'Hey, I want to meet this person.'

"I know what they're going through right now and I know what they're about to go through," Kach said.

She recalled getting to know her family again, being overwhelmed by the media and the part that she called the hardest; having to face her former captor in court.

"It does get better, it does. Trust me. You heal from this but you kind of don't. It's always with you. You have to learn to adapt," she said.

"I still get nightmares. I still get flashbacks. I'm still in therapy and will probably be in therapy for the rest of my life and there's nothing wrong with that."

For now, the avid Nicki Minaj fan is enjoying the simple pleasures of dancing with her fiance at prom and hoping to tie the knot when it becomes financially possible for the couple.

"Every time I've been on the news, it's always been something bad," Kach said. "This is a good story to cover finally so people can see that I'm moving on with my life. I'm trying to turn a negative into a positive."