Tenn. teacher, teen girl who was subject of AMBER Alert found in California

Elizabeth Thomas (left), Tad Cummings (right), source: TBI

SISKIYOU COUNTY, Calif. (WKRN) – The former Maury County teacher accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old student last month has been arrested in northern California.


The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Thursday that Tad Cummins, 50, was taken into custody and Elizabeth Thomas was safely recovered.

The arrest comes after authorities in Siskiyou County, California, confirmed to News 2 Cummins’ Nissan Rogue was found there late Wednesday night.

Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kelly Giordano told News 2 it found with the license plate removed and verified to be Cummins’ vehicle through its VIN number.


It’s not yet known which city Cummins and Thomas were located. Siskiyou County is one of the northernmost counties that borders the state of Oregon.

The two vanished from Columbia, Tennessee, on March 13. An AMBER Alert was issued the next day. Aside from being captured on surveillance two days later at an Oklahoma City, Walmart, neither had been seen or heard from since.

News 2 spoke with one of Thomas’ sisters early Thursday afternoon. Kat Bozeman said the Federal Bureau of Investigation told them Thomas was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation. The TBI also reportedly said Thomas appears to be healthy and safe.

Bozeman also said federal agents told them it would be about a day before they can see the 15-year-old again, noting the family is absolutely elated she was found.

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