Elizabeth Thomas Has Been Missing For Weeks

by Cate Carrejo

Once held up as an exemplary Christian and pillar of his community, high school forensics teacher Tad Cummins is now one of the most wanted men in America. The 50-year-old husband and grandfather is allegedly on the run with one of his 15-year-old students, who he allegedly kidnapped and is being searched for nationwide. Elizabeth Thomas has been missing from her home in Maury County, Tennessee, for nearly a month, and the window to find her is closing every day.

Experts claim that Cummins was grooming Thomas for sexual abuse in the weeks before their disappearance. Thomas' background may have been Cummins' first clue to target the 15-year-old, who is one of 10 children in a single parent home. Thomas and her siblings were removed from the custody of their mother after allegations that she abused her children. Her mother said she was not guilty of the charges against her.

Cummins allegedly ingratiated himself into Thomas's life to make her trust him, taking her to church with his family and out to restaurants. All of the effort, investigators allege, was to make Thomas easier to victimize. The signs of abuse were seemingly corroborated just a few days before Thomas' disappearance, when a fellow student reported allegedly seeing Cummins kiss Thomas at the school. However, Cummins was not fired from his teaching position until after Thomas had been reported missing.

The pair were last seen in Maury County on March 13, when video from the high school showed Thomas leaving the premises without any obvious signs of a struggle. However, investigators believe that Cummins is traveling with two handguns, so Thomas could have left with her abductor under threat of force. Cummins is believed to be driving a Silver Nissan Rogue, TN tag, 976ZPT

Although there have over 600 tips to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation since Thomas' disappearance, only one sighting of Thomas and Cummins has been confirmed so far. The pair were seen in a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma City on March 15, which indicates that they are traveling south and west, but it's unclear what Cummins' final destination may be. The photos show that Cummins appears to have dyed his hair darker, and Thomas' hair appears to have been dyed red.

If you have any credible information about Cummins' or Thomas' location, please call 1-800-TBI-FIND as soon as possible. If you live anywhere in the Southwest United States in particular, be on the lookout for Thomas and her alleged captor.