As a parent, I can only imagine the gut-twisting heart sickness of not knowing where your child is. I’m sure any parents reading this can likewise imagine.
Elizabeth Thomas is the 15-year old Tennessee high school student who disappeared two weeks ago, taken by a 50-year old high school teacher by the name of Tad Cummins.
Cummins taught at Culleoka Unit School, but was suspended after another student claimed to have seen Cummins and Elizabeth kissing in his classroom.
Elizabeth was removed from his class, but Cummins had found a way to get around that, and even defied the order not to have contact with her.
By all accounts, Cummins had become obsessed with Thomas, and like a typical child predator, had been “grooming” her.
Elizabeth’s brother, James, has said that before his sister disappeared she told another sibling to call police if she didn’t come home by 6 p.m. on March 13. There was no school that day, and police say a friend dropped her off at a Columbia restaurant.
Investigators say they believe Elizabeth and Cummins were in Decatur, Alabama, later that day. Then, they vanished.
Investigators now say they believe that before the pair disappeared, they sent each other romantic missives using the drafts folder of Cummins’ school email account, CNN affiliate WAAY reported.
In one email, Cummins wrote, “‘I saw you standing next to your backpack this morning’ and makes a reference to a body part of hers and how nice that looked,” Detective Marcus Albright of the Maury County Sheriff’s Department told the station.
To communicate, Elizabeth or Cummins would write the other an email, often inappropriate, and save it as a draft, District Attorney Brent Cooper told WAAY. The other then would log in, read the message, delete it and write a reply, again saving it as a draft, he said.
Before the abduction, Cummins even convinced the young girl that he had been an agent with the CIA and FBI, and that he was rolling in cash.
The reality is that he took out a personal loan of $4,500 several days before disappearing with Elizabeth.
And among other creepy things, he researched teen marriage, and Elizabeth had recently updated her Instagram account profile to read “wife.”
Cummins’ actual wife made a televised plea to her husband to come home, saying, “This is not who you are.”
Apparently, she just didn’t know who she married and a child predator and sick individual is exactly who he is.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is reporting that they have 904 closed leads, 154 open leads, but no confirmed sightings.
It’s hard to believe nobody has seen them. Somebody has, but probably thought it was just a man and his daughter.
So I’m putting this out there, just to further this story and maybe somebody, somewhere, can think of something they saw that seemed like nothing before, but now causes some lights to go on.
Tad Cummins is 50-years old, with brown hair, brown eyes, and has a gray goatee. He stands 6 feet tall and weighs around 200 pounds. He has now been charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexual misconduct.
Elizabeth Thomas, 15, is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, with light brown to blonde hair, and hazel eyes. She weighs about 120 pounds and was wearing black leggings and a flannel shirt when she was last seen.
We've issued an update in our ongoing #TNAmberAlert for Elizabeth Thomas. READ MORE: https://t.co/yQR4lvrWmR pic.twitter.com/t7eBEf2Za7
— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) March 15, 2017
Cummins was driving a silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee tags and the plate number 976-ZPT.
Cummins is also armed, which leads authorities to believe Elizabeth is in very real danger.
NEW PICTURES: Various shots of Ted Cummins in the past few weeks, including the vehicle he's believed to be driving. TN TAG: 976-ZPT. pic.twitter.com/mlrPPlcXoQ
— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) March 17, 2017
This isn’t the typical RedState story, I realize, but it is important. A young girl’s life is at stake, and somebody out there may have the key to help bring her home. If you do see something, or think you have, contact your local authorities, and/or 1-800-TBI-FIND.