Documents from the Maury County School Administration’s investigation indicate a relationship between a missing 15-year-old and a former teacher prior to the teens disappearance.
Elizabeth Thomas was a student of Tad Cummins at Culleoka Unit School.
According to a school report, a student claimed she saw the teacher and Thomas kiss on the lips in a classroom back on January 23. The student described it as a “peck.” The following day, the student confronted Cummins, who said he saw Thomas as his “best friend.” Thomas and Cummins were interviewed by school officials. They both denied the incident ever took place but admitted to a friendly relationship. On January 31, Cummins was contacted by a Maury County Sheriff’s detective who was investigating the incident.
On February 3, Thomas was seen in Cummins’ classroom, so he was suspended. Thomas’ father, Anthony, was not notified of the incident by the school. The teen’s father hired attorney Jason Whatley, who wrote a letter to the school admonishing them for “brushing” him aside.
In the letter, Whatley says when her father searched Elizabeth’s phone, he found she had been communicating with Cummins. The letter sent February 6 from Whatley to the school also says, “I cannot overemphasize to you the concern we have here.”
Elizabeth Thomas disappeared with the teacher March 13.
Authorities said last night that the two may be “off the grid” and even more troubling is that Cummins has not used his debit or credit cards since disappearing with Thomas.
Thomas was last seen at the Shoney’s in Columbia when a friend dropped her off. Cummins was spotted next door at a gas station filling up his 2015 silver Nissan Rogue.
A statewide Amber Alert has been issued for Thomas. So far, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has received 250 tips from 24 states.
Anyone who sees the pair is urged to call 911.The license plate number for Cummins’ car is 976ZPT, but law enforcement officials believe the vehicle may have been abandoned at this point.