April 23, 2017

Teacher accused of kidnapping student arrested in California

22 April 2017, 01:11 | Rodolfo Wallace

Anthony Thomas, the father of 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas who was at the center of a more than month-long nationwide Amber Alert, told ABC's Good Morning America on Friday that his daughter will need therapy and that her family plans to get her any help she needs.

Police say teacher Tad Cummins kidnapped the girl from Columbia, Tenn., on March 13.

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.

Elizabeth is in federal custody and arrangements are being made for her return home as soon as Friday.

Cummins faces federal charges of transporting a minor across state lines for the objective of criminal sexual intercourse in addition to state charges of kidnapping and unlawful sexual contact with a minor.

Authorities declined to answer a question on whether the girl went willingly, saying it didn't matter.

After more than a month on the run, a former Tennessee teacher captured after allegedly abducting a teen student reportedly told cops that he's relieved that the ordeal has come to an end.

When asked about what will happen to Tad Cummins, Kat Thomas said it's out of their hands. He's expected to be arraigned in federal court on Monday.

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Whatley added that he had been informed that the commune where the two was found was in a very remote area with no cell phone service. Snow was still on the ground in some places.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it worked tirelessly for the past five weeks, looking into more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states.

Cummins and Thomas disappeared on March 13, sparking a cross-country manhunt made all the more hard as Cummins apparently changed his appearance and may have switched out the license plate on the vehicle he was driving, according to reports. Culleoka is about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Nashville near the Alabama state line.

Court papers filed recently in the girl's disappearance showed she was afraid of the teacher and thought she would face repercussions at school if she resisted him.

"There is no doubt that she has suffered severe emotional trauma and that her process of recovery is only just beginning". An attorney for the girl's family has said her father didn't find out about the report of the kiss or the school's investigation until a law enforcement agent showed up at his door. The girl was found safe on Thursday and the teacher was arrested. Cummins had been suspended after a student reported seeing them kissing in a classroom.

The school system didn't suspend Cummins until February 6.

But instead of going to the beach, police say he picked up the student in Columbia, Tennessee, in his wife's silver Nissan Rogue on the morning of March 13, triggering a six-week police manhunt.

Shortly after Cummins disappeared with one of his students, Tennessee authorities discovered that he had falsified information on an application for a $4,500 title loan.

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