Teenage Girl, Teacher Who Vanished in March Found in Northern California

Tad Cummins is now facing a federal sex charge after being arrested early Thursday in California and the 15-year-old girl that he kidnapped was recovered. According to authorities, Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas have been located in Northern California.

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. Whatley speculated that Cummins had planned an escape to the Northwest, referencing the citing of the two at a Walmart in Oklahoma City off Interstate 44, which leads to California. But after that, the trail went cold. The teen he allegedly abducted, Elizabeth Thomas, was found safe.

It was identified using its vehicle identification number. An Amber Alert was issued across the state of Tennessee the following day, and Cummins was added to the TBI's Top 10 Most Wanted list on March 17. It is a remote area more than half covered by national forests and state lands on the California-Oregon state line.

More on this as it develops.

"My neighbor noticed the vehicle didn't have a license plate and there was a girl in the auto that looked really young and never got out", O'Hare said. She is federal custody and arrangements are being made for her return home as soon as Friday.

After the capture, Cummins was charged with one federal count of transportations of a minor across state lines for the goal of criminal sexual intercourse, said Jack Smith, acting USA attorney for Middle District of Tennessee.

"She is being evaluated and treated by mental health experts specializing in trauma", Whatley said in a statement.

That next morning, the caretaker asked Cummins to come outside and help him build a rock wall on the property.

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"There's one thing that he's reminded us for our entire life".

"When my neighbor called and told me, I thought 'Oh my God, no, we are way too far from (Tennessee),' " O'Hare said.

Prior to his capture, Tennessee authorities issued a warrant for Cummins' arrest on charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor - the latter charge stemming from the alleged January kissing incident. "This is yet another example of the value of the public helping us to rescue a kidnapping victim".

She said she's proud of her community, and is confident local officials will find a way to learn from this entire ordeal. The TBI also reportedly said Thomas appears to be healthy and safe.

Jill Cummins had filed for divorce, saying she felt betrayed by her husband.

"I saw him a week ago and they said they were from Colorado and said they lost everything in a house fire", Barry said.

While in Northern California, Cummins befriended a man named Griffin Barry.

  • Phil Peters