Parents entrust the welfare of their children to schools, particularly teachers who are supposed to guide and protect students on their road to becoming adults, but there are some teachers who have less than ideal intentions. Tad Cummins, a former teacher from Tennessee, just so happens to be the kind of role model that no parent wants for their kids, especially after he wound up allegedly kidnapping a 15-year-old student to flee the U.S.But what happens when the roles are reversed and it’s the teacher who seems to be infatuated with one of their students? This just happens to be the case of 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas and her health science teacher.
Sarah said that something was off from the start of the school year back in 2016, particularly when 50-year-old Mr. Cummins supposedly rubbed his shoulder against Elizabeth and ran his hands on both of their backs.
But it was only a matter of time before Elizabeth’s dad, Anthony noticed that her daughter had started showing signs of dependence on Cummins.
You could say that Cummins was like her creepy knight in shining armor since he’d often get Elizabeth out of trouble and even bought a microwave so she could heat up her food in his classroom.
She claims that “Elizabeth looked at me with her eyes like, ‘This guy is scary, get this guy off’. But Sarah hadn’t realized how much danger her sister was potentially in.
The petition said that Cummins warned Elizabeth that there would be reprisals if she didn’t do what he told her to do.
He had supposedly manipulated Elizabeth for months, essentially molding her and pushing her to the breaking point before ultimately abducting her.
The petition also alleged that Mr. Cummins would pick Elizabeth up from her home on several occasions to go out for a bite to eat, and he supposedly warned her that there would be retribution at school if she didn’t adhere to his demands.
She told them that she was scared of Mr. Cummins and that she felt like she was “in over her head,” and clearly she was right.
Authorities feared that the white, blonde, 5’5, 120 pound teenager with hazel eyes was abducted by Cummins and was somewhere in the area of Decatur, Alabama.
They also warned anyone who came in contact with him that he was believed to be armed and extremely dangerous.
The student claimed that they had seen Cummins kissing Elizabeth on January 23rd. This led to an investigation and was reprimanded. But three days later, Cummins received a letter from Maury County Public Schools Superintendent Chris Marczak, which stated the teacher had been suspended.
Meanwhile, the schoolboard had no other recourse but to officially fire Cummins on March 14th in the wake of all the drama.
Cummins had also used her guilt as a tool to compel her to go with him, because according to the claim, Cummins told Elizabeth that her college future and work career was ruined by the scandal.
Her father, Anthony, said that she had been bullied at school and called names, which left Elizabeth feeling vulnerable.
So this was essentially her first experience in the public school system, which left her ignorant of the danger that Cummins posed. A fact that was made clear from this footage showing Cummins planning to buy hair dye to possibly change Elizabeth’s appearance.
He had even taken out a $4500 loan just before he had disappeared with the teenager, and would have taken her who knows where if he hadn’t been caught.
It was obvious that Cummins was a huge flight risk, so a federal judge in Sacramento, California, order the 50-year-old ex-teacher to be held without bond until he was extradited to Tennessee.
Did Cummins somehow play on that fantasy to make himself look like the beast that Elizabeth could ultimately redeem?
But Cummins wound up entering a no contest plea, but if convicted, he’ll likely face a state charge of aggravated kidnapping in Tennessee.
Hair dye was just one of the means to his end. He also disposed of his cell phone and hers and changed the license plate on his car to fool authorities.
She was allegedly living with him in Northern California, in a remote cabin where she had to eat wildflowers and sleep with Cummins.
There, they stayed for a couple of days until ranch officials forced them to leave, but they had no way of knowing who Cummins really was.
So the Amber Alert didn’t reach this far. Eventually Cummins and Elizabeth headed to Cecil Ville a week later before the nightmare came to a close. Now the family hopes justice will be served while trying to help Elizabeth heal from the horrifying experience.