A Tennessee teacher and the teenage former student he was suspected of kidnapping were found in Northern California on Thursday, ending a manhunt that stretched over more than a month, The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced.
Tad Cummins, 50, was arrested and a 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas was “safely recovered, TBI-tweeted. The officials planned a press conference scheduled for 4 pm ET.
MEDIA: We plan for an afternoon press conference. Details will be announced as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/Tw7IKNWZ38
— TBI (@TBInvestigation) April 20, 2017
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“Gather as many details as possible to share,” TBI wrote in a tweet.
Cummins and Thomas disappeared on March 13, sparking a cross-country manhunt complicated as Cummins, apparently, changed his appearance and may have switched out the license plate on the vehicle he was driving, according to reports. Court papers filed recently in the girl’s disappearance showed she was afraid of the teacher and thought she would be faced with the consequences at school if she resisted him.
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The researchers were inundated with thousands of tips from the public as the matter gained national attention.
Cummins was fired from his job amid an investigation into alleged inappropriate contact with Thomas.
Cummins and Thomas wrote e-mails to each other and saved as a draft in a folder of Cummins’ high school e-mail account, Maury County District Attorney Brent Cooper told WAAY earlier this month, stating the couple had a “romantic” relationship.
“They would write the message and let it save as a concept,” Cooper said. “The other person want to log in, read the message and then delete it and then write a message that is saved as a draft.”
He added: “When you read them, you would immediately recognize the reading of messages between two people having a romantic interest in each other.”
One of the e-mail concepts shared with WAAY starts with Cummins tells Thomas that he “saw you stand beside you [sic] backpack this morning.”
“[Cummins] is a reference to a body part of her and how beautiful that looked,” Maury County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Mark Well said.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.