A lawyer for the family of a missing Tennessee high school student says a teacher now accused of kidnapping her had been investigated by the school system after another student reported seeing the teacher kiss the girl.
Authorities say student Elizabeth Thomas was last seen on March 13 and is believed to be with the 50-year-old teacher. Cummins, a Maury County, Tennessee teacher was sacked after being accused of having sexual contact with the Thomas, according to the TBI.
Investigators believe Cummins is now hiding out in secluded areas or has left the Southeast with the girl.
Elizabeth is white with hazel eyes, about 5ft 5ins and was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings.
Cummins is a 6-foot white male with brown hair and brown eyes and weighs 200 pounds.
"I don't know whether she went willingly or not, but I do believe it was some sort of coercion", James Thomas said. School officials said Cummins was dismissed as a result of the district investigation.
Her father, Anthony, described his daughter as a boisterous, athletic, and social teenager who loves her family.
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TBI issued a nationwide Amber Alert, because with so few leads, investigators said Cummins and Thomas could be anywhere by now.
Tad Cummins handed over the title of his SUV, put up some other personal effects and walked out of the loan office with $4,500 in cash.
Almost two months before a high school student and her former teacher went missing, they were alleged to have been seen kissing by another student in the teacher's classroom. However, the lack of confirmed sightings leads them to believe Cummins could have Thomas hidden from the public view or far away from Tennessee, according to an update released Monday afternoon.
Cummins was seen after 8 a.m. that day on surveillance camera at a local gas station adjacent to the Shoney's. The 15-year-old remains the subject of a Tennessee AMBER Alert. "Please do the right thing, and turn yourself into the police and bring Elizabeth home". Anyone who sees the vehicle is asked to call 911 or 1-800-TBI-FIND.
Anyone who provides information leading to Cummins' arrest will be eligible for a $1,000 reward.
Tad Cummins, who taught health sciences at the Culleoka Unit School, is thought to be armed with two handguns, according to the bureau, which added him to the list Friday. "I urge Mr. Cummins to pick up that phone and call someone. and let us know where you are so you can start dealing with the consequences".