Police raced to Milwaukee airport on Thursday after a passenger reported a sighting of missing Tennessee teen Elizabeth Thomas, but it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.
A passenger aboard a flight from Milwaukee to Minneapolis reported seeing Thomas and Tad Cummins, her former teacher-turned-abductor on Thursday afternoon. The tip sent authorities to Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, but after questioning the girl believed to be Elizabeth, investigators determined she was not in fact the missing 15-year-old.
The false alarm led to a dramatic scene at the airport.
“I noticed two deputies and some TSA agents, and then as we were coming out I saw some news media. So I was wondering what was going on,” Cassandra Miller, a passenger from Louisville, told WISN.
Cummins and Thomas disappeared from Columbia, Tennessee on March 13. The teen and her 50-year-old teacher are believed to have been involved romantically, and there are indications that Thomas did not want to leave with him. Cummins was fired from his job, and his wife has since filed for divorce.
The teen and her abductor were spotted at an Oklahoma City Wal-Mart on March 15, the last confirmed sighting of the pair.
Cummins is a fugitive on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list.