Tennessee authorities have announced the arrest of Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins, and they say that his 15-year-old former student is safe.
You can watch the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation news conference above.
Elizabeth Thomas, a Tennessee high school freshman was on the run with Cummins, a 50-year-old married teacher, for more than a month. The pair has been found safe in a northern California cabin, said TBI.
“She will soon be back home,” authorities said in the news conference. They said they had received a tip from the public that led to Cummins’ capture, and that they expect criminal charges will keep him behind bars for quite some time. “It only takes one tip,” TBI officials said. They said the pair was found in a “remote area” and that Thomas will be flying back home on a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation aircraft.
Prosecutors said the state has an aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor charge available to it.
Thomas, 15, “has been safely recovered in Northern California,” reported the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on April 20. “Tad Cummins is under arrest,” TBI added. In a press release, authorities said Cummins and Thomas were located in a Cecilville, California cabin not far from the Oregon/California border.
The capture ends the more than month-long drama of the Tennessee health teacher and his teenage student, who vanished in the midst of an investigation into a complaint that he was spotted kissing her in a classroom. Since that time, authorities had launched a massive manhunt for the pair, who filled their Instagram pages with love posts before vanishing.
Cummins, a father and grandfather whose wife, Jill, is now divorcing him, has been fired. Thomas was a student at the school where he taught. The teacher and student had eluded authorities for more than a month, with the last sighting of them coming in an Oklahoma City Walmart in mid March.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cummins’ Car Was Located First in a Wooded Area of Northern California
Before disappearing together, both the teacher and student wrote constantly about love and soulmates on their respective Instagram pages. Authorities have released almost no information about Cummins’ arrest, and it’s not clear whether Thomas will say she went willingly.
Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kelly Giordano told the Tennessean that “Cummins’ vehicle was found in their California jurisdiction Wednesday night” April 19. Initially, authorities said the pair was found in a commune, but it turned out that wasn’t the case, reports the Tennessean.
Authorities were planning a news conference to release further details about the capture.
Thomas’ Instagram profile calls her a “wife” and contains numerous recent graphics about love and soulmates, but some of her posts were disturbing.
Thomas also wrote about being broken, ugly, and wanting to die. One of her last posts was about Beauty and the Beast and contained the saying, “every beauty needs her beast to protect her from everything but him.”