TN -- Former Tennessee teacher, Tad Cummins, was arrested Thursday in California and the girl he allegedy kidnapped 15-year-old Elzabeth Thomas was found safe.
The arrest and rescue were made thanks to a tip to the Tennessee Bureau Investigation. At an afternoon press conference in Nashville, TBI Director Mark Gwyn said,
“Our Intelligence Analysts and Agents have worked tirelessly since issuing this AMBER Alert to process more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states.What happened in California this morning, however, proves it only takes one person to lead to a successful end. We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off. We’re also grateful for the public’s support and vigilance throughout this search effort.”
"Our main concern now is how is emotiotionally, District Attorney Cooper said. "Whether she was 'brainwashed or went willingly'? We don't know what the situation is yet."
"He is charged with transportation of a minor across state lines for the purpose of sexual intercourse," U.S. Attorney Jack Smith said.
An Amber Alert was issued March 13 for Elizabeth after her parents reported her missing.
A warrant was issued for Cummins' arrest after TBI said he "may have been abusing his role as a teacher to groom this vulnerable young girl for some time in an effort to lure and potentially sexually exploit her."
Maury County Public Schools, in a news statement, thanked law enforcement for the safe conclusion of the case.
“The news of Elizabeth Thomas’ safe return is wonderful news for our community, and now, we can begin healing as a community, school district and as families touched by the AMBER alert. Thanks go to all who have kept the message of finding Elizabeth Thomas and working on her safe return as top-of-mind throughout the nation,” the statement said.
A criminal charge is an accusation, by law, a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven in a court of law.