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Teacher accused of kidnapping student will be in court

13 May 2017

Cummins also bought a tablet to keep up with news on their disappearance, along with a two-person kayak worth $1,500, Noble said.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent testified Friday at the preliminary hearing that Cummins admitted to having sex with the girl "most nights" that they were on the run, according to information reported by our sister affiliate WSMV in Nashville.

Before he disappeared, Cummins left his wife a note saying he had gone to Virginia Beach to clear his head.

Cummins reportedly said their sexual relationship began the night after they disappeared on March 13.

The pair first drove from Columbia, Decatur, Ala. where Cummins disabled Global Positioning System and threw both of their cell phones in the Tennessee River. At some point, Cummins reportedly admitted to disabling the Global Positioning System on his vehicle and replacing his license plate with one from Alabama.

Cummins moved on to Oklahoma City, where he and Thomas were caught on surveillance at a Walmart. The agent said there was no evidence. She filed for divorce from Cummins shortly after he disappeared.

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Griffin Barry would later be instrumental - and rewarded - in Cummins' capture, but when he first met Cummins and Thomas, he did not know who they were. After paddling to Mexico, Cummins and the teen were going to use aliases of a married couple - John and Joanne Castro - so they could blend into the population, Noble said.

In this April 20, 2017 photo released by the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office is Tad Cummins.

He told investigators he selected a Spanish-sounding name because he'd hoped to go to Mexico - but he changed course when they attempted to cross the Coronado Bay in a kayak and it proved too unsafe.

Cummins maintains his innocence, the court documents state.

"On behalf of Mr. Cummins family, we just wanted to express they are still very much in support of him, not saying they condone the actions that have been alleged against him but they still provide support, emotional support for him", Federal Public Defender Marcus Shabazz said. But the officer only warned them that the water was rough and gave them tips on the boat before leaving.

"According to Cummins, he was anxious about their safety", Noble said.

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They then drove north, stopping in Los Angeles to sell the kayak at a bar. Surveillance footage caught Cummins filling up his auto at a gas station near the restaurant.

After two weeks spent at a nearby commune, where they stayed in a cabin, Cummins and Thomas were asked to leave.

As previously reported, Cummins trusted Barry and travelled back to his property.

Cummins faces a charge of taking a minor across state lines for the goal of sexual activity, and will remain in jail until his trial, a judge ruled Friday.

He faces a state charge of aggravated kidnapping, sexual contact with a minor, and one federal charge of transporting a minor across state lines for sex.

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Teacher accused of kidnapping student will be in court