Missing Columbia teen Elizabeth Thomas was found in Northern California with her alleged kidnapper, 50-year-old Tad Cummins.
Cummins surrendered to sheriff's deputies without incident in Cecilville, California, hours after they had set up surveillance on his vehicle in the area, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said. The student notified school officials the next day. He was initially suspended when the Maury County Sheriff's Department began investigating him for sexual contact with a minor.
January 31 - School administrators were notified by law enforcement that Cummins was the subject of a criminal investigation.
February 6, 2017: Cummins is suspended from his job at Culleoka Unit School in Maury County.
Also that morning, Thomas was dropped off by a friend at a Shoney's restaurant in Columbia. "I don't want to disclose yet when she's going to be here because obviously, our goal is to seclude Elizabeth with her family".
Elizabeth Thomas' sister, Kat Thomas, shared a message. He said Thursday he didn't want to talk about the teacher, Tad Cummins, who is accused of kidnapping the girl. Her phone later pinged in Decatur, Alabama, around 3 p.m.
"Our Intelligence Analysts and Agents have worked tirelessly since issuing this AMBER Alert to process more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states", TBI Director Mark Gwyn said in the statement. Cummins was also terminated from MCPS. Attorney Jason Whatley has said the school system must have not believed the student's report.
They have only implied the pair had sexual relations by charging Cummins with sexual contact with a minor and a federal charge of transporting a minor across state lines to have sexual intercourse. The TBI said Thomas was recovered safely.
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He also said the arrest signifies the strong resolve of law enforcement agencies and the government. He is required to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on May 17. "It was a voluntary action".
Cummins and Thomas wrote emails to each other and saved them as drafts in a folder of Cummins' high school email account, Maury County District Attorney Brent Cooper told WAAY earlier this month, indicating the pair had a "romantic" relationship.
March 17, 2017: Tad Cummins' wife, Jill, speaks for the first time and pleads for her husband to "do the right thing". We're absolutely thrilled and blessed to have her safe and on her way home.
March 20, 2017: Thomas and Cummins have been missing for one week.
The TBI releases new photos and surveillance video of both Cummins and Thomas before their disappearance.
Cummins had been prescribed Cialis - a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction, his wife told investigators.
"The student related that Cummins rambled on and on about how much he loved his wife but indicated that (Thomas) sometimes went to church with him and his wife and that (Thomas) had a troubled past", court records state.
Law enforcement then established a perimeter around the cabin and chose to wait until the morning to arrest Cummins as he exited the cabin, according to the sheriff's office.