Cops Think Teacher Kidnapped His 15-Year-Old Student

Tennesee police looking for Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2017 2:09 PM CDT
Cops: Teacher on the Run With Abducted Student, 15
Elizabeth Thomas   (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

Tennessee police are renewing their plea to the public to be on the lookout for a 50-year-old teacher accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old female student. Tad Cummins disappeared along with Elizabeth Thomas on Monday, and surveillance video from a gas station in Decatur, Alabama, appears to show Cummins there that day, reports the Tennessean. Since then, however, no sightings have been reported. Authorities think Cummins manipulated the girl into a sexual relatonship at Culleoka Unit School, where he taught and she was a student. He was formally fired on Tuesday. Cummins "may have been abusing his role as a teacher to groom this vulnerable young girl for some time in an effort to lure and potentially sexually exploit her," per an AMBER alert.

Cummins has now been added to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's 10 Most Wanted List, and a $1,000 reward is being offered. Among those making public pleas for the girl's safe return is Cummins' wife, Jill. "Tad, this is not you," she said, per ABC News. "This is not who you are. We can help you get through this." Cummins faces charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor, but authorities say his penalty will be less severe if he turns himself in with the girl. Her family and friends had a candlelight vigil Saturday night in Columbia. "We are going to get her back," said her father, Anthony. See more photos, including one of Cummins' vehicle, here. (More Most Wanted stories.)

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