Judge in Sacramento court deems TN teacher a flight risk

Posted May 09, 2017

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall Newman ordered Tad Cummins held in the meantime as both a flight risk and a danger to the public.

Elizabeth Thomas, 15, was found in California and flown to Tennessee on Friday.

The former Culleoka Unit School teacher allegedly obtained a "small watercraft and conducted a test run to cross into Mexico across the water from San Diego", ABC News reported.

Last week, authorities found the teenager in Northern California and arrested her forensics teacher, Tad Cummins, 50. He has also been charged in Siskiyou County with kidnapping and possession of stolen property, authorities said.

After the pair's disappearance, investigators said they received hundreds of tips from 24 states but not enough information to tighten the dragnet, despite a multistate manhunt and Cummins's placement on Tennessee's most-wanted list.

Bozeman said that according to Elizabeth, she was not able to contact her family during the period she was with Cummins because she did not have any way of communicating with them.

He said the family's focus right now is Elizabeth's health and getting her acclimated to family life again. According to the federal prosecutors, Cummins admitted to complex efforts to avoid capture during his 38 days on the run, including traveling back roads through nine states, using disguises, disengaging the Global Positioning System on his wife's Nissan Rogue and staying in motels with lax check-in procedures and communes. If convicted of the federal charge, he faces at least 10 years in prison, acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith said.

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The pair went missing in March from Tennessee and were not seen for six weeks - except for when they were captured on surveillance video at a Walmart in Oklahoma City.

Elizabeth's father, Anthony Thomas, told media he believed his daughter was brainwashed. Police launched an investigation into the relationship after school officials reported the incident.

Cummins, 50, remains in federal custody in California after he was arrested Thursday and the teen was recovered in Northern California following a month-long nationwide search.

The teacher would later be reprimanded on February 3 by school principal Penny Love after the girl was seen in Cummins' classroom for a little more than half an hour that day.

Cummins is facing a federal charge of transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Cummins described the girl as "a really good friend" and told school officials that the girl did leave her other classes to come see him "when she needs someone to calm her down". "She may not be exactly. the person she was because there's a lot of experiences she's had".