Teacher faces federal charge in student case

Jane Richards
April 21, 2017

The break came when a vehicle belonging to Cummins was found in Siskiyou County, California, the county's sheriff's office said. Authorities said they found Cummins' Nissan Rogue and later located the pair.

Jill Cummins said she wants Elizabeth Thomas home "as much as the rest of you, but I'm also very anxious about Tad". Cummins, 50, was arrested at the scene, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed on Twitter. TBI plans to disclose further details at a 4:00 EST press conference in Nashville. "We are lucky and we are grateful that she will be retuning home looking forward to having her back in the county".

The tipster, who said he had rented out the cabin to Cummins and Elizabeth, said in an interview with Today that they said they were from Colorado and that Cummis had claimed that Thomas was 24 and he was in his 30s. An attorney for the family later told PEOPLE that Cummins allegedly "groomed" Thomas before they both vanished. She and Cummins have been missing more than two weeks now.

Cummins faces state charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor as well as the federal charges. "It's a case of kidnapping", TBI Director Mark Gwyn said.

Thomas' father, Anthony, told NBC News that he and his family were "overjoyed" that Elizabeth was finally found.

Their disappearance on March 13 came after Cummins was investigated by the school system when another student reported seeing the then-married teacher kiss the girl. We want to make sure she gets a bath and has clean clothes.

"At the end of the day she's 15 years old".

Cummins had been suspended from the Culleoka Unit School in February after disobeying an order barring Elizabeth from his classroom following the kissing incident, NBC News reported.

"There aren't words in the English language to describe the level of relief and elation experienced by the Thomas family", said Jason Whatley, the family's attorney.

The TBI said it received more than 1,500 tips during the duration of the investigation.

Cummins' wife filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences and inappropriate marital conduct.

Surveillance video showed the pair at a Walmart in Oklahoma City on March 15.

The TBI believes Cummins may have abused his position as Thomas' teacher "in an effort to lure and potentially sexually exploit her". The teacher, however, acknowledged that the girl was "a really good friend and she does leave her other classes to come see him when she needs someone to calm her down", according to a school report dated January 30.

Other reports by VgToday

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