On March 13, 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas’ parents reported their daughter to be missing. Shortly thereafter, an Amber Alert was issued to try and track her down since she was believed to have been kidnapped by her 50-year-old high school teacher, Tad Cummins.
Today, April 20, they were discovered in Cecilville, California — quite far away from Elizabeth’s home in Columbia, Tennessee. Cummins has been taken into custody and is being charged with sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping.
Former Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins was arrested this morning near a remote commune in northern California and 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas, whom he was alleged to have kidnapped, was found unharmed nearly 2,500 miles from home after an intense five-week search.
At a press conference held Thursday afternoon, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) spokesperson Josh DeVine recounted how a tip from a resident led to Cummins’ capture and Thomas’ recovery.
According to the official, at around 11pm on Wednesday, TBI got a call from a man saying he may have encountered the wanted pair.
The man said that the two of them were believed to have taken up residence in a cabin in Cecilville, California – a very isolated and rural area near the Oregon border – within the last week and a half.
TBI then contacted the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office and learned that investigators there had received the same tip from the same person who contacted the Tennessee agency.
What happened in California this morning, however, proves it only takes one person to lead to a successful end,” Gwyn said in a press release. “We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off. We’re also grateful for the public’s support and vigilance throughout this search effort.”