In spite of a relatively few number of tips, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation continues its work, alongside the Maury County Sheriff’s Department, to locate and recover 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas, who became the subject of a statewide AMBER Alert issued by the TBI, along with an Alabama AMBER Alert, on Tuesday evening.
Thomas is white, with blonde hair, hazel eyes, stands 5’5” and weighs 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings. Thomas is believed to be in the custody of 50-year-old Tad Cummins, a white male, who stands 6’0”, weighs approximately 200 pounds, and has brown hair and eyes. He is believe to be armed with two handguns and driving a silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee tag 976-ZPT. A warrant has been issued for Cummins for Sexual Contact with a Minor.
Since issuing the AMBER Alert at approximately 6:00 CST Tuesday, the TBI has received approximately 80 leads. None, however, has produced any credible sightings about the whereabouts of either individual.
Ongoing investigative efforts indicate Thomas was last seen on Monday morning at approximately 8:00 AM at the Shoney’s in Columbia, Tennessee, after being dropped off there by a friend. Her parents reported her as missing later in the day. Investigators can place Thomas in Decatur, Alabama at approximately 3:06 CST on Monday afternoon, though neither individual has a known connection to that area. Since then, efforts to identify their exact location have proven unsuccessful.
Earlier today, 22nd District Attorney General Brent Cooper confirmed the details of the incident for which Cummins now faces a charge is connected to an alleged sexual interaction between Cummins and Thomas at the school where he taught and where she was a student. The school district suspended Cummins when the allegations surfaced and terminated his employment Tuesday.
As part of its investigative work, the TBI is embarking on an effort to understand the action of Cummins in the weeks leading up to the AMBER Alert. For example, the TBI has been able to determine Cummins secured a title loan for a personal vehicle several days before his disappearance, netting $4,500 in cash. To that end, the TBI would like to hear from anyone who may have had an interaction with either individual prior to their disappearance.
If you have information on Thomas or Cummins, call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND. If you spot the vehicle and can verify the license plate to be TN 976-ZPT, call 911.