Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins are still missing after nearly a month, as families of the missing Tennessee teenager and the man who is believed to have abducted her are pleading for any information anyone may have.
As the Nashville Tennessean reports, Cummins, 50, formerly a high school teacher, is believed to have abducted the 15-year-old Thomas, formerly a student of his. Elizabeth was last heard from on Monday, March 13, after her sister dropped her off at a Shoney’s restaurant in Columbia, Tennessee, at about 7:45 a.m. Hours later, just after 3:00 p.m. Monday, surveillance camera footage showed Cummins pumping gas into his silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee license plate of 976ZPT, at a gas station in Decatur, Alabama, about 80 miles away.
— AL.com (@aldotcom) April 10, 2017
On March 31, surveillance footage from an Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Walmart placed showed the two at a Walmart parking lot. They had both apparently darkened their hair in an attempt to conceal their identities. This confirmed Tennessee authorities’ fears that the missing pair had left the southeastern part of the country.
Since then, nobody has seen or heard from any of them.
Now, as Fox News reports, Thomas’ family is asking a Tennessee court to compel witnesses to testify, believing that people associated with Thomas may know something but aren’t talking.
“With each passing week that Cummins and the child are gone, the memories of these witnesses potentially become less clear and more subject to ultimate scrutiny when the above causes of action are heard at trial.”
Although whether Thomas was forcibly abducted or went with Cummins willingly is not clear; however, Thomas’ family believes the 15-year-old girl was a vulnerable young child who was manipulated by Cummins.
— #60DaysIn#TheJailFan (@60DaysInFan) April 9, 2017
According to The Birmingham News, Cummins had been a teacher at Culleoka Unit School in Maury County, Tennessee until earlier this year. During that time, he apparently struck up a consensual* relationship with Thomas (*legally speaking, teenagers cannot consent to relationships with adults, but indications are that Thomas did not, at least initially, force Thomas into the relationship). On January 23, the pair were caught kissing in Thomas’ classroom. Days later, on February 3, they were caught once again in physical contact with each other, in violation of an order given by the school district for Thomas and Cummins not to have any contact with each other. The day after their disappearance, Cummins was officially fired from his job.
Thomas’ father, Anthony, says that Thomas had tried to end the relationship, but that she began feeling guilty about Cummins’ troubles and that he “preyed upon her guilt.”
“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.”
According to a March 22 Birmingham News report, Cummins had allegedly researched “teen marriage” online before abducting Cummins. Further, he’s alleged to have planned his escape, watching survival shows on TV to prepare for a life on the run, living away from the prying eyes of the general public.
“[The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation] is asking the public to remain vigilant, particularly in remote, secluded areas. With the low number of tips its received, the Bureau believes Cummins is keeping Thomas in places outside the public view. Those places may include campgrounds, large parking lots or garages and parks.”
As Thomas is believed to be armed, the TBI is asking that, if you see the pair, you call 911. Anyone with any other information about Tad Cummins or Elizabeth Thomas is urged to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.