As the deejay called on Tanya Kach and her date for the evening’s first dance, the couple, wearing matching white roses in their corsage and boutonniere, moved to “November Rain” by Guns ‘N Roses while the other couples cheered and wept.
For Kach, it was pure prom magic – 13 years overdue.
Not only did Kach, 31, of Pittsburgh miss her prom, she missed high school altogether after Thomas Hose, a security guard at her middle school, abducted her when she was 14 and held her in his house for 10 years.
Since Kach was rescued by police in 2006, Hose has been locked up while Kach has been trying to put the nightmare behind her. Another milestone in her recovery was attending the second-chance prom June 1 with her fiancé, Karl McCrum.
“It feels like a void was filled,” Kach tells PEOPLE. “It was such a magical, beautiful night.”
Kach, who last year wrote a book about her ordeal, Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid, with her former attorney Lawrence Fisher, says she recalls thinking in 2000 that she was missing her senior year and her prom.
“I remember thinking, this would have been my prom, and crying about it,” Kach recalled tearfully.
The second-chance prom – typically a fun, retro event attended by couples who attended their original proms – was made more special by the participation of Kach, whose story is particularly well-known in Pittsburgh.
“Everyone understood the moment they were having when they danced,” says Bubba Snider, the morning show host at 100.7 STAR, the radio station that hosted the event. “Women were crying and the guys were clapping.”
Kach, who still attends therapy because of her ordeal, was shocked last month when three young women in Cleveland were released from captivity after being held, like her, for about 10 years.
“My mouth just dropped,” Kach says. “They went through something I went through that I wouldn t wish on anybody.”