Teacher accused of abducting missing teen researched 'teen marriage'

The 50-year-old former teacher and alleged abductor of a 15-year-old girl recently looked up teenage marriage online, NBC News reported.

In what another student reportedly described as a "peck" on the lips, the teacher and student had allegedly been caught kissing in his classroom on January 23.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said the suspect, Tad Cummins, 50, also did online research about his vehicle "to determine if certain features could be tracked by law enforcement".

As authorities search for the pair, authorities say Cummins is believed to be armed and that the teen is "in imminent danger".

No matter the circumstances, her family said they will be there for her. Despite more than 650 tips, there have been no credible sightings of the two in the week since the kidnapping.

This week, The TBI released three new sets of images in the case.

But Sarah Thomas said she doesn't think Elizabeth Thomas knew she was leaving that day; she said her sister wouldn't leave without at least hugging her.

The school district in Maury County has terminated Cummins' employment in the wake of the ongoing investigation into alleged inappropriate contact he had with Elizabeth in January, the TBI said.

"That is an issue that we have some major concerns of because it might potentially speak to his intentions for [Thomas]", DeVine said.

Cummins "should have a better boundary between his role as the student's teacher and the student's friend", the anonymous teacher said. "They're not going to be able to hide out forever", James Thomas said.

Both Cummins and Thomas denied they had kissed, and a report found that the allegations "could not be confirmed". "So our message to her tonight, you are a victim".

The 15-year-old has not been seen in nine days. "You can get a lot of places in a span of eight days and we realize that", DeVine said. "He's 50. We are going to do everything we can to bring you home".

Police said they believe Cummins has two handguns and that he's driving a silver Nissan Rogue.

Thomas had last been seen wearing an oversized flannel shirt, black leggings and sneakers. He faces charges of sexual contact with a minor in that investigation.

Authorities believed that by the end of the first day of Thomas' disappearance, she and Cummins were near Decatur, Alabama - about 80 miles south of Columbia, Tennessee, where Thomas had been dropped off earlier that day.

Cummins is a white male, who stands 6 feet tall, weighs approximately 200 pounds, and has brown hair and eyes. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

  • Larry Hoffman