According to Tanya, she first met Thomas, whom she called Tom, when she needed to leave early from a class. Apparently, he stopped her to request her hall pass, and the two began chatting. In the older man, Tanya found someone whom she could trust and talk to about her troubles at home.
In return, Thomas listened to Tanya’s problems, giving her gifts of money and cigarettes. Then, after a few months, the pair took their relationship to the next level. According to Tanya, they had their first kiss on school grounds. In Tanya’s own words today, she was in love.
Soon, Thomas started trying to persuade Tanya to leave home and live with him instead. And on February 10, 1996, he succeeded. Still only 14 years old, the teenager left her father’s house and never returned. Worried, he reported her missing, and the authorities began searching for any sign of Tanya.