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Tennessee girl safe, teacher arrested near California cabin

21 April 2017

After the capture, Cummins was charged with one federal count of transportations of a minor across state lines for the objective of criminal sexual intercourse, said Jack Smith, acting USA attorney for Middle District of Tennessee.

Acting on a tip received by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation late last night, authorities in Siskiyou County located the pair at a rural cabin in Cecilville early this morning.

"This morning, authorities from Siskiyou County located the Nissan Rogue in which the pair were traveling and later located the pair", a statement released by the TBI newsroom said.

Cummins, who is married, and Thomas became the subject of a nationwide search after the teacher apparently lured Thomas into his auto outside of a Shoney's restaurant in Columbia, Tennessee, about 45 miles south of Nashville.

"We're so happy that California police worked quickly and were able to find them and get her safe", one of the girl's sisters told The Tennessean. However, now that she has been found, we at WPSD are following what is also the Associated Press' policy and not naming her.

When asked if Thomas was assisting Cummins in his escape from authorities, he said, "At the end of the day, she is 15 years old".

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"He is charged with transportation of a minor across state lines for the objective of sexual intercourse", he said. News stations in California report Cummins was taken into custody without incident.

"The news of Elizabeth Thomas' safe return is wonderful news for our community, and now, we can begin healing as a community, school district and as families touched by the AMBER alert". Only four days after Elizabeth was reported missing, he was added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's top 10 most wanted list.

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. "So we ended up calling the police and what not", said Barry. "He's totally betrayed me", she said.

The teacher would later be reprimanded on February 3 by school principal Penny Love after the girl was seen in Cummins classroom for a little more than half an hour that day. He was suspended for his interactions at school with the student.

Mr Cummins' wife Jill previously made an emotional plea on U.S. television for her spouse to turn himself in.

The two disappeared on March 13th.

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Elizabeth, who was the subject of Amber Alert in Tennessee and Alabama, walked behind Cummins at the time of his arrest.

It wasn't until someone showed Barry an AMBER Alert and images of Cummins and Thomas that he realized the couple were hiding their real identities. While his wife has now filed for divorce, she said she is hopeful he will come home.

Cummins and Thomas both disappeared March 13 from Columbia, Tennessee, as the local school board was conducting an investigation into their relationship.

Cummins was married for more than 31 years, and he had two children.

Thanks for your continued support.


April 5, 2017: Thomas' father urges his daughter to come home, "We all want you home".

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