On Monday morning, Jason Whatley, attorney for Elizabeth Thomas’ family, showed up at a Maury County, Tennessee, courthouse to pursue a petition to depose witnesses who are withholding information about former teacher and alleged kidnapper, Tad Cummins.
Unbeknownst to him, Cummins, 50, the man accused of kidnapping 15-year-old Elizabeth, was appointed a lawyer for the new lawsuit. Since Cummins remains on the run and refuses to turn himself in, the only way to currently serve him legally is by running a “notice of a petition against him” in a local newspaper for 20 days. This means that Whatley will need to wait until May 1 before the judge revisits his petition to depose.
“The court has taken a very cautious approach……The court gave us as much relief as it could by appointing an attorney for Tad Cummins and resetting this for further arguments,” Whatley said after Monday’s hearing.
— North Penn MPABAT (@NorthPennMPABAT) April 2, 2017
Columbia attorney John C. Colley was appointed to represent Cummins, although it’s still unclear who will foot the bill. Whatley made it clear that Colley is only representing Cummins for the current lawsuit, not any other cases against the former teacher that could happen in the future.
“The attorney is only for this action. I want to be very clear about that.”
The Thomas family is asking to obtain information from students, teacher, and staff at Culleoka Unit School, where Cummins taught health sciences classes. The family said that others are too resistant to talk about Cummins. The family thinks that the more information given about the ex-teacher, the better the chances are of locating him.
“It has been difficult to get information that is reliable. One witness in particular has been unwilling to assist,” said Whatley. “We don’t know how long it will take until the plaintiff [Cummins] and minor child be back. In the meantime, we have witnesses who will not speak. We have witnesses who, frankly, have not been helpful in solidifying their testimony and what it will be.”
On Thursday, Whatley told ABC that the Thomas’ family cannot sit by and wait for “information to trickle in.”
Meanwhile, there’s been no credible sightings of Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas since they were spotted via surveillance camera on March 15, at an Oklahoma City Walmart. Experts suggest that once Cummins runs out money, he’ll surface more, and that it’s important for the public to keep an eye out for the pair whenever possible.
— TBI (@TBInvestigation) March 31, 2017
[Feature Photo: TBI]