Tennessee teen abducted by teacher found safe, teacher arrested


Anthony Thomas refused to address accused abductor Tad Cummins during an interview with Nashville news network WSMV-TV Thursday, just after learning his 15-year-old kid Elizabeth was found safe in California.

The 50-year-old teacher Elizabeth Thomas was with, Tad Cummins, is under arrest. We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off.

TBI Director Mark Gwyn said authorities from Maury County, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and his agency were in route to Cecilville, California to recover Elizabeth Thomas and fly her back on TBI aircraft.

TBI spokesperson Josh DeVine said Thomas and her former high school teacher were found in a cabin in a remote area with little or no cell service.

January 23, 2017: A student allegedly caught Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas kissing at Culleoka Unit School.

The teacher and student took off after a student had reported seeing them kissing at school.

Friday, March 31, 2017: The TBI confirmed a March 15 sighting of Thomas and Cummins at a Walmart in Oklahoma City.

Surveillance footage of Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas.

The arrest ends a nationwide manhunt that began on March 13, when Cummins fled with Elizabeth from their small town of Culleoka, Tennessee.

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

January 4 - The Culleoka (Tenn.) Unit School administration was notified by a student that alleged that Cummins and Thomas had kissed.

The pair was the subject of an ongoing AMBER Alert, and investigators had said they were "off the grid".

Cummins was added to the TBI's Top 10 Most Wanted list.

He now also faces a federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for the objective of having criminal sexual intercourse.

"I am overjoyed that she has been found safely and will return safely to Maury County.", Maury County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Chris Marczak said.

A report filed by her father also explained that she had told her friends she was "scared" of Cummins and felt that she was "in over her head".

When day broke, Cummins was spotted and taken into custody without further incident after he walked out of the cabin on Eddy Gulch Road.

The surveillance images showed Cummins "with an altered appearance to darken his hair" and indicated that "Elizabeth may now have red hair", according to the TBI.

Bozeman told News 2 the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it could be a day or so before the family is reunited.