Lawyer: Kidnapped 15-year-old girl back home in Tennessee
Apr 24 2017 by Larry Hoffman
A lawyer for the girl's family has said the teacher was allowed to continue working at the school for two weeks after he was reported kissing the girl.
Health sciences teacher Tad Cummins surrendered to sheriff's deputies without incident in Cecilville, California, hours after they had set up surveillance on his vehicle in the area, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.
Since the news of Thomas' disappearance her case has been surrounded by rumors that the 15-year-old was trying to escape a bad home life, something Thomas family friends deny. Barry said Cummins used a fake name and said they had lost everything in a fire in Colorado and needed a place to stay.
"The girl wasn't really looking at me or anything and he was always dominating the conversation".
Cummins was sacked about a month after being suspended - a day after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an Amber Alert about the teen.
The nationwide manhunt came to an end Thursday morning, not far from the Shasta Trinity National Forest.
After Barry's tip, Cummins and Thomas were apprehended early Thursday.
Cummins was cooperative with law enforcement, Siskiyou Sheriff Jon E. Lopey told the Associated Press.
An attorney for Thomas's family told reporters that "there aren't words in the English language to describe the level of relief and elation experienced" by her parents now that she has been found physically unharmed.
"These two had a relationship to the extent where she didn't exhibit any anger toward him".
"That was a total character than what I ever experienced", Scott said. He said she did not act like a rescued person.
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"There is no doubt that she has suffered severe emotional trauma and that her process of recovery is only just beginning", the statement said.
The girl was wearing trousers, a blouse and shoes when Cummins was arrested.
Inside the cabin, police found two loaded guns and stolen license plates.
The cabin is close to a commune called Black Bear Ranch but it's not part of the commune, said the cabin's owner, Monk O'Hare.
The Associated Press is not naming the girl or her family members because she is an alleged victim of a sex crime.
"We couldn't be happier to tell you she will soon be on her way back home to Tennessee", Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said.
Police say the teacher kidnapped the girl from Columbia, Tennessee, on March 13.
The U.S. State Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee has also filed a federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines with the intent of having criminal sexual intercourse against Cummins, according to U.S. attorney Jack Smith.
The girl's father has told news media he believes his daughter was brainwashed.
He was apprehended on a fugitive warrant charging him with aggravated kidnapping and unlawful sexual contact with a minor. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Elizabeth had been missing since March 13 when she was allegedly kidnapped by Cummins, who had been added to Tennessee's Top 10 Most Wanted list.