One week after issuing an AMBER Alert for Elizabeth Thomas, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation remains hopeful and committed to its efforts to reunite the young girl with her family, friends, and community, as the search for her and her alleged kidnapper continues.
Thomas, 15, disappeared on Monday, March 13th and is believed to have been kidnapped by 50-year-old Tad Cummins, a former teacher at her school in Maury County, Tennessee. A week ago, the school district in Maury County terminated Cummins in the wake of an ongoing investigation into alleged inappropriate contact he had with Thomas at the school earlier this year. This afternoon, the TBI released a photograph of the two taken at the school in January, days before the alleged incident.
Ongoing investigative efforts continue to reveal a troubling pattern of behavior by Cummins prior to their disappearance. For example, investigative efforts have determined that on March 10th, Cummins did online research about his Nissan Rogue, in an effort to determine if certain features could be tracked by law enforcement. Investigators also determined that five days earlier, on March 5th, Cummins did similar online research on the topic of teen marriage.
On Monday, the TBI released surveillance video, captured on March 7th, showing Tad Cummins shopping for hair dye at the Walmart in Columbia, TN. The TBI has been able to determine that purchase was not connected to any plan to change his appearance or that of Elizabeth Thomas.
As of this afternoon, the TBI has received more than 650 leads. The lack of confirmed sightings, however, continues to lead TBI to believe Cummins could have Thomas hidden from view of the general public or far away from Tennessee. In the name of due diligence, the TBI would encourage property owners – especially in rural areas – to search their grounds for the individuals, the vehicle, or any sign of suspicious activity and report that to 1-800-TBI-FIND. The TBI would also encourage campgrounds, parks, and other isolated areas to remain vigilant and on the lookout for any sign of Elizabeth Thomas or Tad Cummins. To that end, large parking lots and garages should also be searched for the vehicle described in the AMBER Alert. If located, contact 1-800-TBI-FIND.
Thomas is a 15-year-old white female, with hazel eyes, stands 5’0” and weighs 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings. Cummins is 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 and Aggravated Kidnapping. On Friday, the TBI added him to the state’s ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his capture.
The TBI would urge the public to remain vigilant and report any information that may prove beneficial in the ongoing search to 1-800-TBI-FIND. If you spot the vehicle and can verify the license plate to be TN 976-ZPT, call 911 immediately.