Authorities announced a breakthrough in the search for Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins, who disappeared together with a former student who they believed he had an affair with. Police arrested the teacher in California and revealed they found Elizabeth Thomas unharmed.
Cummins and Thomas went missing for almost six weeks before an information in California led to the arrest of the teacher. According to the reports, a caller told the investigators that 50-year-old Cummins and Thomas might be living in a remote cabin in Cecilville. Authorities worked on the tip and deployed law enforcement officials in the area.
They found the silver Nissan Rogue that belonged to Cummins and they observed for a few hours. When the day broke, they took Cummins into custody and found Thomas unscathed, The Washington Post shared. Cummins also surrendered without incident.
Even though Thomas appeared physically unharmed, authorities did not confirm the state of her emotional well-being. Authorities decided to fly her back to Tennessee to be reunited with her family but the details about the said reunion remained unclear.
They booked Cummins at the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department without bond. Once taken to Tennessee, he will be charged with sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping. He could also face a federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for criminal sexual intercourse.
Thomas' father said they are happy about the news even though they still have to figure out the mental state of his daughter so they could get help for her. He, however, did not provide any details when they will see Thomas.
Cummins taught at the Culleoka Unit School where Thomas became a former student. Weeks before they went missing, someone saw Thomas and Cummins kissing. which led to the teacher's suspension.
The former teacher could face years behind bars due to the charges against him. In Tennessee, reports said the higher penalties against sexual contact are given especially when the victim is a very young child or when the display of weapons took part in the commission of the crime, FindLaw reported.
The penalties also differ when the victim is under 18 and got pregnant then the father of the child is four years older. Aggravating and mitigating circumstances are also considered.