Tennessee teacher planned to take 15-year-old girl to Mexico

Elizabeth Thomas

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), following Cummins's arrest, he was charged with sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping. Thomas has been reunited with her family.

Commune residents weren't shy when it came to talking about their time with Cummins and Thomas.

Tad Cummins was arrested last week in Siskiyou County, California.

The charge carries a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison.

Investigators say ex-Maury County teacher Tad Cummins planned to escape to Mexico by boat with his former student, 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas. There was not availability to food all the time, is the understanding. Quinn said. "What were you thinking?"

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U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall Newman ordered Cummins to be kept in federal custody as a flight risk and a danger to others, and returned to Tennessee for trial. "Obviously, we are really trying not to press her, because it's really traumatic for her to remember all of these things", Bozeman said. "She's just so happy to get food and coffee and showering".

"I can tell you that her mood was kind of escalated. you know sometimes she was emotional, you know it was a very traumatic experience for her", Lopey said. "Of course we all have to make decisions every day, and I think he made the wrong decision when he chose to leave the state of Tennessee with a 15-year-old girl".

But instead of going to the beach, police said he picked up the student in Columbia, Tennessee, in his wife's vehicle on the morning of March 13 and headed west.

Super 8 motel records showed that Cummins stayed for awhile in Oklahoma City and Guymon, Okla., the complaint said. They were found more than 2,000 miles away from home in a cabin in far northern California. According to the federal prosecutors, Cummins admitted to complex efforts to avoid capture during his 38 days on the run, including traveling back roads through nine states, using disguises, disengaging the Global Positioning System on his wife's Nissan Rogue and staying in motels with lax check-in procedures and communes.

One of Elizabeth's schoolmates reported seeing her and Cummins kiss in his classroom on January 23, according to a school district investigative report, but both denied the claim.

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