More information continues to emerge about missing Columbia, Tennessee, teen, Elizabeth Thomas, and the former teacher who reportedly abducted her, Tad Cummins.
WKRN reports that 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas once told her friend and co-worker, Ashlee, to tell Cummins, 50, that she wasn’t working if he happened to come into their workplace.
“She’s helped me through so many things, she’s been there with me through the hard times. I want her back, I want my best friend back.”
Initially, there was much speculation that Elizabeth left Maury County willingly with Cummins. They were seen holding hands and even kissing each other at school, and Cummins had a “special seat” for Elizabeth by his desk. By some students’ accounts, they were openly affectionate with each other at school. Cummins apparently gave the teen back and shoulder massages in the school cafeteria, and allowed her to sleep on a bed in his classroom that was supposedly to be used solely for educational purposes. Cummins taught respiratory therapy health science classes at Culleoka Unit School.
Yet, as more details surface, it appears that there may have been hesitance on the teen’s part to flee with Cummins. On March 13, the day she disappeared, Elizabeth told her older sister to call the police if she wasn’t home by 6 p.m. She also left her bag behind at a Shoney’s restaurant, carrying instead only one of the two bags she brought with her. Cummins’ wife, Jill Cummins, added that two handguns were missing from their home; it’s likely that former teacher has the firearms with him.
Cummins and the teen have still not been found. A tip originating from Corpus Christi, Texas, last week hasn’t been substantiated, although authorities continue to search area hotels and comb through surveillance footage.
Cummins is described as 6 feet tall with brown hair and brown eyes. He weighs around 200 pounds. Elizabeth is described as 5-feet-five inches tall, weighing around 120 pounds, with blond hair and hazel eyes. Elizabeth was last seen wearing black leggings and a flannel shirt. Keep in mind that they may have altered their appearance to avoid detection.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the capture of Cummins, and two of Cummins’ former co-workers are offering $5,000 for the safe return of Elizabeth, no questions asked.
Investigators urge the public to not approach him. Instead, contact 911, or the Maury County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office at (931) 375-8654, or TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.
[Feature Photo: TBI]