How authorities discover missing Tenn. student Elizabeth Thomas and former teacher
The missing Tennessee teen who was allegedly kidnapped by her former teacher was found in an isolated cabin in northern California after authorities received a tip late Wednesday describing a possible sighting of the pair.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation received the tip around 11 p.m. Wednesday and the caller pointed authorities to a cabin in Cecilville, a rural area near the Oregon border with little to no cell service, TBI Public Information Officer Joshua Devine said.
The caller indicated that 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas and her former teacher, 50-year-old Tad Cummins, may have been living in the cabin for a week-and-a-half, Devine said.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office also received a similar tip from the same individual around the same time, the sheriff’s office said.
Deputies in Siskiyou County located a 2015 silver Nissan Rougue at the cabin that matched the description of the car Cummins was driving, according to the sheriff’s office. Investigators were then able to use the car’s VIN number to confirm that it belonged to Cummins and kept the car under surveillance for several hours, Devine said.
Law enforcement then established a perimeter around the cabin and decided to wait until the morning to arrest Cummins as he exited the cabin, according to the sheriff’s office. A citizen who had befriended the pair assisted police on the scene.
As daylight broke, Cummins was taken into custody, Devine said. Thomas family attorney Jason Whatley said a special police unit “swooped in” on the cabin with “force.”
Elizabeth exited the cabin behind Cummins and was taken into FBI custody in Redding, California, authorities said.
Two loaded handguns were recovered in the cabin, as well as personal items belonging to the pair, according to the sheriff’s office.