New details continue to emerge regarding former Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins, who was arrested on Wednesday in a remote area in California.
Despite a nationwide manhunt for Cummins, 50, and high school student, Elizabeth Thomas, 15, the pair evaded capture for a little over a month. Their run ended in a secluded area in Cecilville, California, near the Oregon state line. They were found close to a commune at Black Bear Ranch, but were not actually part of it, despite previous reports. They were in small, wooden cabin so far away from society that authorities had difficulties reaching them at first.
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Cabin Caretaker Hatches a Plan
Griffin Barry, the cabin caretaker, called Michael “Monk” O’Hare, the property owner and owner of the Salmon River Saloon, and told him that Cummins was asking for work on Wednesday at the saloon. Barry also said Cummins, who had Elizabeth by his side the previous day, told him that they lost everything in a fire in Colorado and needed somewhere to stay. Barry offered them the cabin after Cummins told him that they were at the Black Bear Ranch commune, but didn’t like it there. Barry reported Elizabeth only gave her name, a fake name, but otherwise didn’t say anything.
According to O’Hare, a neighbor reported that the man (Cummins) was acting really strange. O’Hare said the neighbor remembered reading an article about a man on the run with a teen girl. When he realized who Cummins was, the neighbor alerted Barry, who alerted O’Hare.
O’Hare said he was hesitant about approaching Cummins because he read that the alleged kidnapper may be armed.
“They were going to try and contain him but thought, ‘Naw, he’s supposed to be armed and dangerous.’”
Instead, O’Hare and Barry hatched up a plan to get Cummins to stay there another night by offering rock lifting work. The plan worked. By the next day, authorities arrived and detained Cummins.
Once apprehended, Cummins surrendered without fighting. He told police he was glad the ordeal was over. He’s now behind bars in California awaiting extradition, which could take several weeks.
Detectives found two loaded guns, a 9 mm pistol and a Ruger .380, as well as numerous different license plates inside the cabin. Cummins had taken his Tennessee license plate off of his car. He now faces a string of charges, including a federal charge of “transportation of a minor across state lines with intent of having criminal sexual intercourse.”
Elizabeth was said to be doing well, as least physically, but authorities are not yet sure how the experience has affected her emotionally, which seems to be their main concern. During a Wednesday press conference, when asked if Elizabeth went willingly, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Director, Mark Gwyn, said they did not know yet, but it didn’t matter whether she went willingly or not.
“At the end of the day she’s 15 years old, she’s 15 years old, she’s a young girl that’s with a grown man that’s 50 years old. He needs to be held accountable for kidnapping this girl.”
Details are still developing. Check back with Crime Online as additional information becomes available.
[Feature Photo: TBI]