Dad of abducted Tenn. teen thinks she was brainwashed
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Apr 22, 2017,
Apr 22, 2017, 8:23
The nearest police station from the cabin, O'Hare said, is two hours away. But they'd been in the heavily wooded area 60 miles south of the OR line since at least last week, according to Griffin Barry, the man who says he eventually helped police capture Cummins. "He lost everything, they were married", said Barry.
As he discussed the pair with someone a bar Wednesday night, the other person found Cummins' picture online in an urgent Amber Alert widely distributed by authorities.
After realizing who they were, Barry said he immediately called 911.
WBIR reports that the cabin owner was with a neighbor when he first met Cummins and Thomas. Cummins came out of the cabin willingly and was arrested. Deputies set up a perimeter around the cabin and elected to wait until daylight to arrest Cummins as he exited the residence, according to the sheriff's department.
He said the girl is in a safe location with friends and family and is now resting. The student said that Cummins rambled on about how much he loved his wife and mentioned that Elizabeth Thomas sometimes went to church with his family since she allegedly had a troubled past.
The girl's father has told news media he believes his daughter was brainwashed.
Elizabeth Thomas' disappearance came several weeks after a student reported seeing an kiss between Tad Cummins and the teenage girl.
Local 8 News made the following timeline of events based on the criminal complaint against Tad Cummins issued by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
"He talked for her a lot", Barry told KOBI. "We'll make sure she'll get what therapy she needs and that she's safe, that she knows she's safe". The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office also received a similar tip from the same individual around the same time, the sheriff's office said. Thomas said she and the now-former teacher never kissed.
"We're very happy that we're going to see her again", the dad said on "Good Morning America".
"We couldn't be happier to tell you she will soon be on her way back home to Tennessee", Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said. He said he was shocked to learn Cummins was wanted for kidnapping.
Cummins was sacked about a month after being suspended - a day after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an Amber Alert about the teen. He denies doing anything wrong and apologizes to her. Tells her to not call the police.
How they got to Cecilville, California, and why they went there remains a mystery to investigators.
Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins said he and his alleged teen kidnapping victim were a couple looking for help after losing everything in a house fire, according to the tipster who alerted authorities.
On Thursday, U.S. Attorney Jack Smith said a federal charge has been filed against Cummins.
An attorney for the Thomas family said Elizabeth has been in contact with them but didn't elaborate on the conversation.
Elizabeth told a sibling she was going somewhere that day but to call police if she hadn't returned by 6 p.m., her brother, James Thomas, told HLN last month.
Jill, Erica and Ashlee offer neither comment nor opinion about what should or should not happen to Tad Cummins and leave that up to the capable individuals involved in the judicial system.
S. Jason Whatley, the Thomas family attorney released a statement on Friday, saying the teen is comfortable and resting and is now being treated by mental health experts.