Teacher suspected in Tennessee kidnapping arrested

Tad Cummins was arrested after more than a month on the run with 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas, who was found safe with Cummins in a cabin in Cecilville, Calif.

Jack Smith, the acting USA attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, said Thursday that his office filed a federal charge of transporting a minor across state lines for criminal sexual intercourse.

A representative of the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office says federal authorities took Cummins into custody just before 9:00 local time.

The lawyer for the family of a 15-year-old girl who was allegedly kidnapped by her teacher says the teen is back home in Tennessee and being evaluated and treated by mental health experts.

The girl, Elizabeth Thomas, returned to Tennessee on Friday, according to a statement from S. Jason Whatley, her family's attorney. When Cummins went outside, investigators were there to arrest him, O'Hare said.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said Thursday that Cummins appeared to have made an arrangement with someone connected to the property where the Cecilville cabin was in exchange for gas and food.

Cummins told his wife he had a job interview at the Williamson County Medical Center the day he disappeared March 13, according to the affadavit. A citizen spotted Cummins' silver Nissan Rogue in northern California and alerted authorities.

Cummins faces state charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor as well as a federal charge of taking a minor across state lines to have sex. Sgt. Mike Gilley of the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office told reporters during a Thursday evening press conference. He said her family will be patient with her and get her the help she needs.

As daylight broke Thursday morning, deputies were able to take Cummins into custody without incident and safely recover Elizabeth Thomas, TBI spokesperson Josh DeVine said.

Deputies monitored the vehicle and took Cummins into custody as daylight broke, said DeVine.

About 36 hours later, Barry said he saw a picture of Cummins and called 911.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017: Elizabeth Thomas' brother James Thomas said he believed she was taken against her will.

"I want her to know I love her", Anthony Thomas said on GMA when asked what was the one thing he wanted his daughter to know.

The pair 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.

We are so thankful that they have both been found safe.

He described her condition as alternating between "stoic" and "emotional", understandable given the circumstances, he said. Cummins was Elizabeth's high school teacher at Culleoka Unit School in Maury County, Tenn.

Surveillance video from Wal-Mart stores in Oklahoma City and Guymon captured video of the student and teacher. He was dismissed from the school after being initially suspended when police began investigating him for sexual contact with a minor. The report also recommended that the administration monitor Cummins' classroom to make sure students weren't there when they weren't supposed to be.

  • Leroy Wright