Elizabeth Thomas: Teacher Tad Cummins Suspected In Teen's Disappearance

Elizabeth Thomas, 15, was last seen at a Shoney's restaurant in Columbia, Tennessee, on Monday, March 13. According to reports, the teen left the restaurant at approximately 8:00 a.m. and has not contacted her family or friends in nearly a week. Authorities are now concerned that the teen was abducted by 50-year-old Tad Cummins, who is believed to be armed and dangerous.

As reported by ABC News, Tad Cummins taught health science classes at Culleoka Unit School -- where Elizabeth was a student.

In late January, Cummins was suspended from his teaching position amid allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a student. According to reports, the teacher was caught kissing Elizabeth Thomas.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation believes Tad 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."

In the weeks prior to Elizabeth's disappearance, Cummins' behavior suggests he was making preparations for the abduction. Authorities have confirmed the former teacher took out several loans totaling approximately $4,500. Authorities also believe Cummins is armed with two handguns.

As stated in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's third Amber Alert update,"nothing investigators have learned about Cummins or his intentions for the young girl since issuing the AMBER Alert calms the imminent concern for Elizabeth's well-being. In fact, it only heightens it."

Following the announcement of Elizabeth Thomas' disappearance, Tad Cummins was formally terminated from his position at the Culleoka Unit School. Authorities also issued a warrant for Cummins' arrest for aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.

As the matter is urgent, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation added Tad Cummins to Tennessee's "Top 10 Most Wanted" list and are offering a cash reward for any information leading to the former teacher's capture and arrest.

Elizabeth Thomas is described as a 15-year-old white female with hazel eyes and blonde hair. The teen is 5'5" and weighs approximately 120 pounds. On the day of her disappearance, Elizabeth was wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings.

Tad Cummins is described as a 50-year-old white male with brown hair and brown eyes. He is 6'0" tall and weighs approximately 200 pounds. Authorities believe Cummins is driving a silver Nissan Rogue with a Tennessee license plate numbered 976-ZPT.

According to reports, authorities believe Elizabeth Thomas was in Decatur, Alabama, on the afternoon of her disappearance. However, despite receiving hundreds of tips, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has not received any credible tips about the teen's whereabouts in nearly one week.

Authorities believe Tad Cummins is taking precautions to avoid being captured. They also admitted that the teen and her former teacher could be "frankly, anywhere."

Elizabeth and Tad's families have both appeared on television to plead for the teen's safe return.

On a Friday news conference, Tad's wife Jill Cummins begged her husband to bring Elizabeth back unharmed and to turn himself into authorities.
"Tad, this is not you. This is not who you are... We can help you get through this. No matter how far you've gone or what is happening right now, God's grace is sufficient for you and he wants you to come home."
Unfortunately, neither Elizabeth nor Tad have responded to the pleas. Anyone with information about the missing teen or her whereabouts is encouraged to call 911 immediately.

Authorities have not released much information about the relationship between Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins, but they are clearly concerned that the older man took advantage of his student. They are also concerned that he carefully planned the abduction and may intend to harm the teen.

[Featured Image by Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock]