Missing for a Decade: The Girl Escapes

In an emotional interview with Dr. Phil, Tanya shares the intimate details of a decade in captivity. How did she survive in her confined space? Why didn’t she run? And how did she finally break free?

Finally Free



Jill Greenwood is a reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and she was the first person to interview Tanya after she was rescued. She joins the show via satellite.

She tells Dr. Phil, “When the news first broke that morning that a girl who had been missing for 10 years had turned up just blocks away and had been held captive in a bedroom, I think all of us journalists were a little confused. We thought there’s no way this could be true. It sounds like a Hollywood movie. It’s mistaken identity or something. So, I started calling sources, and I got the correct spelling of Tanya’s name, and I went directly to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and plugged it in, and up her poster came with all the information, and I thought, Oh, God, this is not good.”

Jill says she knocked on Tanya’s father’s door the day she was discovered and was shocked when Tanya answered and invited her in. “I was just so confused,” she says. “‘Where have you been? People have been looking for you for a decade, and you were just right around the corner? How is that possible?’”

“So, people had pretty much given you up for dead,” Dr. Phil says to Tanya, who agrees.

Jill adds, “In the time that she was gone, the FBI released four million images of her picture: on milk cartons, websites, posters. They did periodic checks on her social security number. There was no activity ever of her trying to get a license or a job.”

She explains that right down the hill from Thomas Hose’s house, the body of a 15-year-old was found in the cemetery two years after Tanya disappeared. “All of that together didn’t look good. People assumed she had fallen into the hands of a predator and that she was dead,” she says.

Jill says her first impressions of Tanya were that of a sweet, innocent girl. “I was looking at a grown woman, a 24-year-old woman, but she emotionally, mentally, her mannerisms, were still very much an early teen,” she says. “She was a little nervous. She kept asking her dad for permission to use the bathroom, to smoke a cigarette, things that 24-year-old women typically don’t seek permission for. She mentioned she wanted to go shopping and was she allowed? It really broke my heart because it was obvious that she sort of stopped maturing emotionally and mentally when she disappeared.”
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