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Tennessee teacher suspected of kidnapping 15-year-old arrested

Tennessee teacher suspected of kidnapping 15-year-old arrested

A former Tennessee high school teacher accused of abducting a 15-year-old student in March was arrested on Thursday in northern California, where the teenager was also safely recovered, authorities said.

Tad Cummins was arrested after an unidentified person called a tip line.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) announced Thursday at a press conference that a tip led them to the safe capture of the alleged kidnapper and his unharmed abductee, almost 2,500 miles from their hometown in Columbia, Tennessee.

Cummins was transported to the Siskiyou County Jail in Yreka, according to the sheriff's office. Siskiyou County is a remote area with several national forests on the California-Oregon state line. As the investigation continues, investigators say they learn Cummins researched teen marriage and whether law enforcement could track his vehicle.

"And a couple of times he always kept her in the auto and he would be like 'she's asleep, ' you know, and I'm like, 'okay, '" Barry told KOBI.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is preparing for a news conference this afternoon after reporting that Maury County teacher Tad Cummins, 51, and his 15-year-old student, Elizabeth Thomas had been located in the remote mountains of Northern California.

The report recommended that the girl be taken out of Cummins' class and that he be reprimanded to uphold his professional responsibility.

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He had no idea law enforcement was looking for the duo.

Gwyn said, "Our intelligence analysts and agents have worked tirelessly since issuing this AMBER Alert to process more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states. It only takes one tip".

"This is yet another example of the value of the public helping us to rescue a kidnapping victim", Gwyn said.

Thomas is set to be reunited with her family Friday.

"I told him I could give him some work and help him out, so yesterday we moved rocks out of the river", Barry said. He is being held without bond.

Mr Cummins was placed on Tennessee's "10 most wanted" list after a nationwide manhunt to find him.

Thomas had been missing since March 13.

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The school district in Maury County terminated Cummins in the wake of an investigation into alleged inappropriate contact he had with Thomas at the school earlier this year after a student reported seeing Cummins kissing Thomas.

Cummins' estranged wife, Jill Cummins, was "very emotional" when she learned both were found safe, her attorney Michael Cox said. Central Wednesday night from a California resident who said he believed he saw Thomas and Cummins and had information they had taken up residence in cabin in Cecilville over the last week and a half.

Whatley said he was surprised that it was Cummins' auto that tipped off law enforcement to their location. It's just time to let her come home. "We'll make sure she'll get what therapy she needs and that she's safe, that she knows she's safe".

Elizabeth Thomas is 15.

"We are all stoked she was found", O'Hare said.

Thomas claimed she had an argument with another teacher about going to the bathroom on the day of the reported kiss, Hardison wrote in court documents. "I think he left because he was so ashamed of what had happened".

Missing Tennessee Teacher Arrested, Teen Found Safe
Cummins, whose wife filed for divorce after he disappeared with Elizabeth, has been fired from his teaching job. The TBI says it was a tip from a caller that led them to Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins .


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