losangelesnewstoday.com
losangelesnewstoday.com October 17, 2017


Attorney says Elizabeth Thomas is with family, friends at safe location

22 April 2017, 01:50 | Amanda Barker

Teacher accused of kidnapping student arrested in California

Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins has been arrested and 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas has been found safe in northern California the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation tweeted Thursday

The former Maury County teacher accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old student last month has been arrested in northern California.

The owner of the property where they were found said his caretaker called him at about 9:30 P.M. and said the man, Cummins, came to a nearby bar he owned and asked for work.

At this time, Cummins faces a kidnapping charge in the AMBER Alert case and is also charged with sexual contact with a minor after he allegedly kissed Thomas at school earlier this year.

No additional details were released late Thursday morning.

In addition to the state charges he was already facing, Cummins now faces a charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for the goal of having criminal sexual intercourse, which carries at least a 10 year prison sentence.

As of 1 p.m. Thursday, Cummins remained in the custody of the Siskiyou County jail where he's being held without bond, awaiting extradition to Tennessee.

Cummins was suspended from his job on February 6, the affidavit says.

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Thomas' father, Anthony, told NBC News that he and his family were "overjoyed" that Elizabeth was finally found.

"It is believed based on the investigation to date, as set forth herein, that Cummins, age 50, and victim, age 15, are involved in a sexual relationship and traveled in interstate commerce to continue their relationship and to engage in unlawful sexual activity", the criminal complaint against Cummins says. A day after they disappeared, Cummins was sacked from his teaching job at Culleoka Unit School, where Elizabeth had been a student in his forensics class. Authorities credited citizens and the media for their involvement in helping to locate the teen.

The pair's disappearance March 13 came after Cummins was investigated by the school system when another student reported seeing the then-married teacher kiss the girl at the Culleoka Unit School. But after that, the trail went cold. The charge carries a minimum of 10 years. "It only takes one tip", Gwyn said. He agreed to help them after Cummins told him they had lost everything in a fire in Colorado and needed a place to stay.

Whatley added that he had been informed that the commune where the two was found was in a very remote area with no cell phone service.

"She is excited that they were found and nobody was hurt", Cox said.

Jill Cummins had filed for divorce, saying she felt betrayed by her husband. She had no idea why her husband went to northern California.

Cummins and the student visited a Wal-Mart when they were in Oklahoma.



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