How missing Tennessee student and her former teacher were found

The man who tipped off authorities and led them to a former Tennessee teacher accused of kidnapping his 15-year-old student said today there were "clues" that made him suspicious of the pair.

Elizabeth Thomas's disappearance a month ago sparked a nationwide Amber Alert. In Lawrence County, Tennessee, Cummins faces charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor, said Attorney General Brent Cooper. Acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith says that if convicted of the federal charge, he faces at least 10 years in prison.

Gilley confirmed that his team worked with a neighbor to draw Cummins out of the cabin in order to separate him from Elizabeth. As daylight broke, Cummins was taken into custody, Devine said.

The teacher would later be reprimanded February 3 by school principal Penny Love after the girl was seen in Cummins' classroom for a little more than half an hour that day.

Barry, 29, said he called 911 after he ran into the pair at a gas station in Cecilville, Calif., and they told him they needed money for gas and food as well as a place to stay.

Thomas and Cummins disappeared from their hometown in Tennessee on March 13 and were last seen at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma City just two days later. 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 sheriff said the girl showed no signs of elation when she and Cummins were found.

A morning hearing scheduled for Tad Cummins this morning in Siskiyou County, California has been canceled. In Tennessee, Cummins also will be charged with kidnapping and having sexual contact with a minor.

The TBI said it would provide more details in a press conference later.

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.

"Obviously, our goal is to seclude (her) with her family", Whatley said.

According to an affidavit filed by Maury County Sheriff's Department Detective Jonathan R. Hardison, on March 13, Cummins told his wife was going to a job interview at the Williamson County Medical Center. After being told the two they wouldn't be a good fit at the ranch, one ranch resident said Cummins became angry and stormed off. After they went missing, Cummins's wife of 31 years, Jill, filed for divorce.

He said Thomas appears to be healthy and unharmed, but authorities are concerned about her emotional and mental state, and will continue to view her as a potential witness and victim in the case.

"This is not somewhere they had frequently visited", her attorney said. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation tweeted Thursday that teacher Tad Cummins had been taken into custody.

  • Joanne Flowers