Missing teenager 'was brainwashed by teacher'

Jane Richards
April 23, 2017

"The family is absolutely elated beyond words that this part of the ordeal is coming to an end", Jason Whatley, an attorney for the girl's family said. We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off. 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.

After Thomas' father filed a missing-child report and told investigators he feared his daughter was with Cummins, detectives subpoenaed Cummins' financial records and learned that Cummins had taken out a $4,500 loan against his vehicle. Law enforcement then established a perimeter around the cabin and made a decision to wait until the morning to arrest Cummins as he exited the cabin, according to the sheriff's office.

Cummins is facing three charges: aggravated kidnapping, sexual contact with a minor, and transporting a minor across state lines to have sexual intercourse. The charge carries a minimum of 10 years.

Two days after the alleged kidnapping, surveillance video showed Cummins and the teenager at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma City.

After that, the trail appears to have gone cold.

He called the cops, who surrounded the cabin early Thursday morning to take Cummins into custody.

Police say the two spent at least one night in the remote cabin - a one room structure that was in the process of being built, sources told CNN's Sara Sidner.

When officers got on the scene, they were able to identify the Rogue as Cummins' through the VIN.

Court papers filed recently in the girl's disappearance said she was afraid of the teacher and thought she would face repercussions at school if she resisted him.

"So excited Elizabeth is coming home!" another user added. "He said she was 24, and he said he was 38".

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"As we have said from the start, it only takes one tip", Gwyn said.

Then, when he looked at the vehicle, he noticed it didn't have a license plate.

The police department worked with the cabin owner on a plan to arrest Cummins.

Yesterday, he said, Cummins and Elizabeth helped him fish rocks out of the creek.

He said Cummins wouldn't let the girl talk.

Cummins faces federal and state charges.

But state law allows children older than 12 to decide whether to leave their families, unless their removal or confinement "is accomplished by force, threat or fraud".

That means to prove a kidnapping took place, prosecutors will have to show Elizabeth was unlawfully removed or had her freedom restricted.

Channel 4 spoke with Elizabeth Thomas' father, Anthony Thomas, as he stopped by his attorney's office in Columbia shortly after learning she had been found safe.

"We love you, and we can't wait to see you, and it's incredible, we have so many words, we are so excited", she said.

Other reports by VgToday

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