Rescued teen back home in Tennessee, reunited with family

Cheryl Sanders
April 24, 2017

He was taken aback at how small and childlike she was, a side of her that the public didn't see while she was under Cummins' control.

The next morning, at 9:30 a.m. the Siskiyou County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office arrested Cummins at the cabin off Eddy Gulch Road and rescued Elizabeth, according to the sheriff's office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The girl's family says she is being evaluated and treated for emotional trauma.

He said he wants to fly Barry to Tennessee so he and the town could personally thank him.

Tad Cummins is scheduled to be arraigned Monday. "So (I'll) try to help you out, '" Barry said.

The U.S. State Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee has also filed a federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines with the intent of having criminal sexual intercourse against Cummins, according to U.S. attorney Jack Smith.


"There is no doubt that she has suffered severe emotional trauma and that her process of recovery is only just beginning", Whatley said.

A family friend confirmed Thomas made it back to Tennessee Friday. Deputies with the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office traveled to the area and confirmed the vehicle belonged to Cummins.

Jack Smith, the acting US attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, said Thursday that his office filed a federal charge of transporting a minor across state lines for criminal sexual intercourse. He said Thomas did not exhibit any anger toward her former teacher and showed no sign of elation that authorities found them.

The girl's father has told news media he believes his daughter was brainwashed.

Cummins was sacked about a month after being suspended - a day after the TBI issued an Amber Alert about the teen.

A 12-year-old Culleoka Unit School student reports Cummins, 50, and Elizabeth, 15, were kissing in his classroom.


Before leaving with the girl, Cummins had been suspended from teaching and police were zeroing in on him, questioning his relationship with Thomas.

Cummins reportedly left a note for his wife saying he was heading toward Virginia, maybe even the D.C. area. He faces charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor, said Lawrence County Attorney General Brent Cooper. The girl is expected to be returned to relatives in Tennessee on Friday, her family says.

In response to Cummins' capture, his wife and daughters released a statement that was obtained by WHNT.

The statement said the family is "glad this chapter of the ordeal is over" but has "neither comment nor opinion about what should or should not happen to Tad Cummins and leave that up to the capable individuals involved in the judicial system".

Jason Whatley, family attorney for the Thomas family, met Elizabeth, 15, for the first time today.


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