Tennessee teen Elizabeth Thomas found safe, former teacher arrested

Tad Cummins Arrested; Elizabeth Thomas Found Safe

localmemphis.com - MEMPHIS. TENN, (localmemphis.com) - The TBI says it was a tip from a caller that led them to Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins.

A caller told TBI officials they'd seen the 2 and the Nissan Rogue they were traveling in a wooded area in Cecilville, California near the Oregon state line.

The local sheriff's department says the terrain and lack of cell phone coverage presented a challenge in the arrest and rescue.

Despite the obstacles, they brought the six-week search to an end.

Thursday morning the National Amber Alert ended.

A break in the coast-to-coast search for 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas.

TBI officials say she was taken from her home in Columbia, Tennessee, March 13.

Thomas' accused abductor, her former teacher 50-year-old father, and husband, Tad Cummins. 

The Siskiyou Sheriff's Deputy described the place the pair were found.

"I would describe the cabin as a one room cabin," said the deputy. "There were two cabins right next to each other, sleeping on a little foam mattress. Very little equipment, maybe camp cook equipment inside."

Deputies say they strategically set up a perimeter around the cabin with snipers and waited for Cummins and Thomas to come out.

Eventually, they did.

"They were trying to figure out if we were there or not, just the way they were looking," the deputy said. "Our team members engaged them. They were completely compliant. We took them straight into custody."

In a news conference today, authorities said Thomas looked to be healthy and physically unharmed, but measures would be taken to make sure the 15-year-old is sound of mind and spirit.

Back home in Tennessee Thomas' family eagerly waits for the daughter and sister they last caught a glimpse of on surveillance video from an Oklahoma City Walmart recorded just two days after Thomas was abducted.

'They're very anxious to hear from her to hear first hand how she's doing, but at the same time this sense of elation really can't be described," said John Whatley, Thomas family attorney.

 

LocalMemphis.com and WJHL.com have more on this story.


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