‘I’m glad this is over’ – Tenn. teacher arrested for abducting student admits weariness tocops
Tad Cummins was caught in California, Thursday after a five-week man hunt
He is accused of abducting Elizabeth Thomas, 15 on April 13 in Tenn
for abducting student told cops ‘I’m glad this is over’
They runaways were more than 2,000 miles away from home in Culleoka, Tenn when they were turned in by an informer
50-year-old Cummings was arrested, the 15-year-old victim was recovered safe
Elizabeth Thomas seen [right] with Cummins was on a “kind of an emotional roller coaster as you can imagine,” after they pair were found. “She was laughing, she was crying,” her rescuers said.
The 50-year-old Tennessee teacher arrested for running away with his 15-year-old student reportedly said he was happy the weeks-long manhunt had finally ended.
Cummins and former student Elizabeth Thomas had been on the run since March 13, and authorities scoured for clues as to where they were headed. It’s still unclear if Thomas willingly ran away with her ex-teacher.
Tad Cummins [left], grabbed his teen student, Elizabeth Brown, and absconded from Culleoka, Tenn on April 13, the day he was supposed to be answering for his iappropriate conduct with the schoolgirl
The pair vanished just before the Cumminswas to appear before a panel of the school board to answer for the report that a student had caught the teacher and student kissingin a classroom.
Surveillance video showed the pair at a Walmart in Oklahoma City on March 15. But after that, no one could predict where the fugitive pair would next pop up.
Cops finally got word of their whereabouts when someone encountered Cummins in Siskiyou County, more than 2,000 miles from Culleoka, and called the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation tip line. A Cecilville groundskeeper notified TBI that the pair had been staying at an unfinished cabin since earlier this week.
Cummins and Elizabeth were staying in one of these cabins in Cecilville, Calif when they were caught, Thursday
The informer also spotted the silver Nissan Rogue the couple had been driving in their getaway
They confirmed through the VIN number that it belonged to Cummins.
The caretaker, Griffin Barry, said Cummins and Elizabeth — going by John and Joanna — claimed they needed a place to stay after losing their Colorado home in a fire.
Barry, 29, allegedly put gas in their car, gave them $40 and let them stay in the cabin.
“The girl wasn’t really looking at me or anything and he was always dominating the conversation,” Barry told “Good Morning America” Friday. “ That kind of clues people in.”
The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office found rocks with the names of locations the pair had visited in Cummins’ Nissan Rogue, the newspaper reported.
He finally alerted the police that the couple was staying at the cabin after recognizing them from Amber alert fliers.
A SWAT team arrested Cummins Thursday as he exited the cabin to help Barry.
A sheriff’s official at the scene told “Good Morning America” that Elizabeth’s state of mind varied at the scene.
“She was laughing, she was crying,” he said. “She was kind of an emotional roller coaster as you can imagine.”
Cummins is due in court Friday, and faces state and federal charges.
Elizabeth will be brought back to her home in Culleoka, Tenn. to be reunited with her family.
Her father, Anthony Thomas, told “Good Morning America” he believes his daughter was brainwashed.
Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey [center] with the informer, groundskeeper Griffin Barry, to his right talks about tracking and arresting Cummins without incident
Thomas added his daughter would need therapy, and her family planned to be patient with her.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigations spokesman Josh DeVine told NBC News’ “Today” Friday morning that Elizabeth appears to be in a healthy physical state.
Officials were examining her overall status, however, before she was brought home.
“We’re going to be talking with her,” he said. “We want to know exactly what the set of events looked like.”
Tad’s estranged wife, Jill Cummins: ‘He’s totally betrayed me’
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