Tennessee student and teacher accused of kidnapping found safe

Tennessee student and teacher accused of kidnapping found safe

Tennessee student and teacher accused of kidnapping found safe

Police say the Tennessee teacher and 15-year-old former student he's accused of kidnapping have both been found safe in Northern California after reportedly spending some time in the Bay Area.

Authorities were on a nationwide manhunt for the two, after Tennessee authorities said they were deeply concerned "about his intentions for her".

"I'm glad this is over", 50-year-old Tad Cummins said after his arrest, according to Siskiyou County sheriff's Sgt. Mike Gilley.

The former teacher was already charged with aggravated kidnapping in the Amber Alert case and also faces one count of sexual contact with a minor after he allegedly kissed Thomas at school earlier this year in late January. The agency said it planned a news conference for 4 p.m. EDT to release more details.

In addition to the state charges he was already facing, Cummins now faces a charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for the goal of having criminal sexual intercourse, which carries at least a 10 year prison sentence.

Deputies were then able to find the Nissan Rogue in which they had been traveling in a very remote area. "I believe the Federal Bureau of Investigation are going to make sure she's healthy before she comes home", she said.

Cummins' wife later returned home to discover a note from her husband, in which he said he was heading to Virginia Beach or Washington to "clear his head".

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After more than a month-long search, Elizabeth Thomas has been reunited with her family and friends.

On March 15, surveillance images from a Walmart in Oklahoma City showed Cummins and the girl purchasing food items in the store with cash, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said. Elizabeth was described by authorities to be "healthy" and "unharmed", but they added that the main concern is the state of her emotional and mental well being.

Cummins was a teacher at the school that Thomas attended, and before the pair disappeared in March, there were reports that they were acting inappropriately.

Lopey said the two had previously been at a commune called Black Bear Ranch, but "didn't get along" with commune residents and ended up leaving.

Cummins, 50, fled with Thomas from their small town of Culleoka, Tenn., on March 13. But for weeks, the trail went cold.

"It took only one tip", said TBI Director Gwyn. Cummins told the caretaker that he was 44 years old and that the young woman with him was 22. "This is yet another example of the value of the public helping us to rescue a kidnapping victim".

"She is excited that they were found and nobody was hurt", Cox said. She had no idea why her husband went to northern California, her attorney said. He tried honking his horn but it didn't work, so he hollered for them and eventually they emerged, he said.

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