A nationwide AMBER Alert has been issued in search of a 15-year-old girl from Tennessee who police say may have been abducted by her teacher who had an inappropriate sexual relationship with her.
Police in Tennessee, Alabama, and elsewhere are looking for Tad Cummins, 50, a white man standing about six feet tall and weighing about 200 pounds. Said to be armed and considered dangerous, he may be driving a silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee tags 976 ZPT.
Elizabeth Thomas, 15, is a freshman at the Culleoka Unit School and was seen Monday morning, March 13, when a friend dropped her off at a Shoney’s restaurant in Columbia, Tennessee. Surveillance videos showed Mr Cummins filling up his Nissan at a Shell gas station near the restaurant a few moments later. That afternoon, Elizabeth was reportedly in Alabama.
Mr Cummins is a former teacher at Elizabeth’s high school and currently faces charges connected to an alleged sexual interaction at the school. Another student at the school said Mr Cummins was caught kissing Elizabeth at the school on January 23, and an attorney says the school allowed him to remain in the classroom a few weeks after that allegation had surfaced, according to a report in the Daily Herald out of Columbia.
But shortly thereafter, the school district suspended him and ultimately terminated his employment on Tuesday, after he had allegedly left with Elizabeth. The Maury County School District released a statement Wednesday, claiming it had suspended Mr Cummins as soon as school officials were notified of the allegations.
“That is just flat out not true,” an attorney said of the school district’s denial that it had allowed Mr Cummins to continue working with students for so long after allegations had surfaced. “I was shocked they put that out. We have concerns about how [school administrators] are handling this. We have to work together to get this child back, and we do not need false information out there. Every teacher and student at Culleoka knew the truth, that he was still at the school. Every parent in Culleoka is going to be outraged when they find out he was still around after the allegations arose.”
Anyone with information about this case should call the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations at 1-800-TBI-FIND. If you spot the vehicle and can verify the license plate to be Tennessee 976 ZPT, call 911.