Sister of Tennessee kidnap suspect Tad Cummins: ‘He’s still my brother and I love him.’ Former teacher claims he ran away with teen student to keep her ‘safe’

The sister of former Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins, who was arrested last week after 39 days on the run with 15-year-old student Elizabeth Thomas, says her brother doesn’t seem to think he did anything wrong.

Daphne Quinn, Cummins’s sister, revealed on the Today show Monday morning that she had been in contact with her brother over the weekend. Cummins was arrested on Thursday after he and Thomas were spotted at a remote cabin in northern California. He is awaiting extradition to Tennessee and is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

READ also: Tad Cummins and kidnap teen Elizabeth Thomas: A full timeline of events

“He’s done this horrible thing, that he has to pay for. But he’s still my brother and I love him,” Quinn said on the Today show.

But it seems Cummins doesn’t quite agree that he did do something horrible.

“I asked him why – why would he do this? And the answer he gave me was that she wanted to run away and that she wanted to leave and he didn’t want her to go alone and so he went with her so that he knew she would be safe,” Quinn reportedly said. 

Cummins and Thomas had been on the run for 39 days before they were apprehended on Thursday. Prior to that, there were no confirmed sightings of the pair since mid-March, when they were seen shopping at two different Walmart locations in Oklahoma a day apart.

Quinn told the Today show that her brother seems to not fully understand that hurt he has caused his family. His wife, Jill Cummins, filed for divorce shortly after Cummins left town with Thomas.

“He’s repentant sounding and I think he would like to get his family back, but I think it just hasn’t hit him yet that that’s not going to happen,” Quinn said on the show. ‘That he’s going to have to learn a new normal and he’s got a very long, tedious route ahead of him in a place that he’s never been and he’s just going to have to deal with it.”


Photo: Police handout