Court papers: Missing Tennessee student 'scared' of teacher

Cheryl Sanders
April 9, 2017

Elizabeth's father Anthony Thomas said in the petition that he believed at least two witnesses - both minors - from the 15-year-old's school have information that may help authorities find his daughter.

The court filing is asking for witnesses who may have any information that could aid authorities in their search for Elizabeth to be deposed.

"The family can not simply wait for information to trickle in", Thomas' lawyer Jason Whatley told ABC News. The TBI has received more than 1,400 tips, but the pair has only been spotted once on surveillance video at an Oklahoma Walmart on March 15.

Jill Cummins filed the divorce documents last week, citing irreconcilable differences and said Tad Cummins is "guilty of inappropriate marital conduct".

Cummins and Thomas were reported missing on March 13.

When she heard about Thomas' disappearance, Parrish says she remembered something from her friendship with Cummins that, up until three weeks ago, seemed normal: A love song Cummins allegedly performed for her in the school's music room, which she recorded on her phone.

The man also said he saw a silver Nissan Rogue - the auto investigators believe Cummins is driving - in the parking lot, though the license plate did not match Cummins'.

Tad Cummins, a former teacher at Culleoka Unit School, disappeared with Elizabeth, a freshman and onetime pupil of his, weeks after a student reported seeing the two kissing in his classroom.

She reportedly told a friend who dropped her off at a restaurant to meet Cummins the morning of her disappearance that she did not want to go and was having second thoughts about spending the day with him.

"Moreover, evidence has surfaced that [Elizabeth] became fearful of Cummins' reaction to his suspension and her belief that he would punish her in some way for it", the petition stated.

Thomas and 50-year-old Tad Cummins disappeared from Columbia on Monday, March 13.

Maury County Schools is evaluating their current policies in response to the ongoing AMBER Alert for Elizabeth Thomas.

He said that Cummins allegedly went to his home on several occasions, without his knowledge, and pressured his daughter to go out for a meal with him, threatening "repercussions at school" if she declined.

Elizabeth allegedly told siblings and friends she was "scared" of Cummins.

"In short, Petitioner asserts that Cummins was stalking the child", the documents allege. Sometimes she would hide and ask employees to lie about not being there, the petition states.

"She is for all purposes a victim of a masterfully manipulating predator", the petition stated. In a previous interview with PEOPLE, Thomas' father Anthony said he believes being approachable was part of Cummins' plan.

Whatley added in a statement that the "process of this investigation has been frustrating" for the Thomas family.

'The goal of our petition as filed today will hopefully put an end to that hesitancy displayed by some and will help us, as the family, to methodically confirm facts that have been at times unclear, ' he added.

The father claims the only reason for filing the petition is to "provide a vehicle for gathering information".

Other reports by iNewsToday