Tennessee student found safe, teacher arrested in California

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The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said 50-year-old Tad Cummins had been taken into custody and that the girl was found in Siskiyou County in northern California.

By MIKE CHRISTEN / mchristen@c-dh.net

UPDATE: 5:38 P.M. EASTERN:

 

The FBI has custody of 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas, the Thomas family attorney said Thursday afternoon.

 

The family expects her to come home Friday, lawyer Jason Whatley told The (Columbia, Tenn.) Daily Herald.

 

The Culleoka Unit School freshman was found safe Thursday morning in Cecilville, Calif, a remote community three hours south of the California-Oregon border and five hours north of Sacramento.

 

The Thomas family was waiting to hear from Elizabeth by telephone, Whatley said in a news conference outside his office on the Maury County, Tenn., square.

 

UPDATE 4:15 P.M. EASTERN:

 

Tad Cummins was taken into custody and Elizabeth Thomas found safe at daylight this morning after law enforcement received tips late Wednesday night about their whereabouts.

 

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said the two were found in a cabin in a remote area of northern Californian in the community of Cecilville.

 

“She soon will be on her way back home,” TBI Director Mark Gwyn said at a news conference this afternoon. “Tad Cummings faces charges that possibly will keep him behind bars for many years.”

 

The tips began to come in late Wednesday night, the TBI said.

 

The Siskiyou County, Calif., sheriff received the same tips, the TBI said.

 

 

 

 

TEEN’S FAMILY ‘ABSOLUTELY ELATED’ VIA THE COLUMBIA (TN.) DAILY HERALD

 

LATEST UPDATES FROM THE ARREST VIA THE SISKIYOU (CALIF.) DAILY NEWS

 

NO BOND: CUMMINS WILL REMAIN IN JAIL AFTER ARREST VIA THE COLUMBIA (TN.) DAILY HERALD

 

‘WONDERFUL NEWS:’ MAURY COUNTY SCHOOLS REACT

 

 

 

Cecilville residents reported seeing Cummins’ vehicle, a 2015 Nissan Rogue, around the community without a license plate.

 

Cummins faces charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual exploitation of a minor.

 

Cummins now faces federal charges of taking a minor across state lines, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

 

“At this time, we know she is healthy and unharmed,” District Attorney Brent Cooper said.

 

From all of us at TBI… pic.twitter.com/ofJALprQUq

— TBI (@TBInvestigation) April 20, 2017

 

ORIGINAL POST:

 

The announcement was made by the TBI shortly before noon on its Twitter page.

 

The two were found in Siskiyou County, a remote region near the Shasta-Trinity National Forest three hours northwest of Redding, Ca.

 

The owner of the property where they were found said his caretaker called him about 9:30 p.m. and said the man came to a nearby saloon he owned and asked for work.

 

“My neighbor noticed the car didn’t have a license plate,” the property owner said.

 

An Amber Alert was issued for Thomas after her parents reported her missing.

 

Cummins was Thomas’ 50-year-old high school teacher at Culleoka Unit School. He was officially fired from his position when the alert was released.

 

Students reported the two had been seen kissing in school before the disappearance.

 

“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.

 

He praised those from far and wide who have continued to keep the search for Thomas.

 

“I think it s extremely powerful that we have been able to continue to say vigilant and keep the hope alive,” Marczak said. “There are so manny to have contributed to that. We are lucky and we are grateful that she will be retuning home looking forward to having her back in the county.”

 

The TBI will host a press conference on the arrest at 4 p.m. Eastern at its Nashville office.

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