Nearly a month after a teenage girl and her teacher had gone missing, new evidence has appeared.
Maury County, Tennessee has been on high alert since March 13, when 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas and her teacher, 50-year-old Tad Cummins, went missing.
According to the Independent Journal Review, Thomas was dropped off early in the morning at a local restaurant she worked at, and hasn’t been seen since. All the while, her health teacher who was suspended for allegedly kissing Thomas on school grounds has also been missing. The latter is suspected to have kidnapped Thomas. The pair has been at the top of Tennessee’s Amber Alert since, resulting in over 1,000 tips. But nothing has been confirmed.
On April 6th, Anthony Thomas, the missing girl’s father, filed a 12-page petition on behalf of the missing teen, the Tennessean reported. The cased claims that Cummins “groomed” Thomas; instilling fear in her if she didn’t do as she was told. The petition also insists that Cummins stalked the young girl prior to the abduction.
In addition, the petition also requests authorization for the family attorney, Jason Whatley, to take depositions from people who had more details regarding the relationship between Cummins and Thomas but are hesitant to contribute to the case.
Since his daughter’s kidnapping, Anthony has heard on numerous occasions of the tumultuous build up to his daughter’s disappearance.
“The child had told various siblings and/or friends that she was scared of Cummins and felt in over her head,” the filing states.
It also goes on to detail situations where Cummins would appear at the restaurant Elizabeth worked in. The latter would hide from him and tell her coworkers to lie for her, and tell him she wasn’t at work today.
Witnesses even came clean and stated that the teenager had been exploited by her teacher in school.
Apparently, Elizabeth had a special seat next to Cummins’ who had allegedly bribed her with money and gifts. Students also witnessed physical contact between the two, outside of just the rub Elizabeth’s shoulders and back while in school
“Cummins preyed upon the child for months on end, nudging and molding her until her will to resist was conflicted and ultimately broken,” the filed petition stated, AL.com reported.
“She is for all purposes a victim of a masterfully manipulating predator,” it added.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation concluded that the last confirmed sighting of the two was on a surveillance camera at an Oklahoma City Wal-Mart, on March 15, two days after they went missing. The footage was only found two weeks later.
Elizabeth was homeschooled up until this academic year, when she started at Culleoka High School. Cummins had worked at Culleoka High School since 2011, but was officially fired after the two had been reported missing, the Independent Review Journal adds.
The missing girl is described as five feet, five inches tall, weighing at 120 pounds with blonde hair and hazel eyes. Authorities describe Cummins as a six-foot tall male weighing 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
For any information regarding their whereabouts, contact authorities immediately by calling the Maury County Sheriff’s Office at 931-388-5151 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) at 1-800-TBI-FIND.