The father of a 15-year-old girl who was kidnapped back in March has released a heartfelt plea in the hopes it will encourage her return home.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an AMBER Alert was issued for Elizabeth Thomas on March 13. She was reported missing from Columbia, Tennessee. She is described as a white female with blonde hair and hazel eyes, standing at 5 feet 5 inches and weighing 120 pounds. When she was last seen, she was wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings.
Elizabeth was also suspected to have been in the company of 50-year-old Tad Cummins. Cummins is described as a white male with brown eyes and hair standing at 6 feet and weighing 200 pounds. According to ABC News, he is now wanted on allegations of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.
The vehicle information regarding Elizabeth's disappearance was also released. It was stated that the vehicle in question was a silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee license plate 976ZPT. According to WKRN, it is unknown whether they are still traveling in that particular car.
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The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that prior to Elizabeth's disappearance, Cummins "may have been abusing his role as a teacher to groom [her] ... in an effort to lure and potentially sexually exploit her," reports ABC News.
Since Elizabeth's disappearance, the pair has been spotted only once. They were seen in a surveillance video at a Walmart in Oklahoma on March 15.
On April 5, Elizabeth's father, Anthony Thomas, gave a strong message to WKRN in the hope that it would be heard by his daughter.
“I want to tell her, Elizabeth, that man may be telling you that nobody’s looking for you, or he may even be telling you that nobody wants you home,” Anthony said. “Don’t listen to that. Everything he said to all the kids, not just you, has been a lie. He’s nothing but a liar. We all want you home. We all need you home.”
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“I would like to just urge Tad Cummins, I know you’re keeping up with all this and you’re filtering,” he continued. “You’re not letting her see how much people out here love her. You’re depriving her of that. It would make better sense for you to turn yourself in to law enforcement. If you turn yourself in, there are laws that will guarantee your general safety.”
Since the time of Anthony's statement, the family has taken further steps to ensure that Elizabeth is returned home safely, reports ABC News. On April 6, Anthony filed a petition in court that asked for witnesses who may know anything about details related to the case to come forward with their information.
As of April 5, the TBI had received 1,300 tips from states across the country, according to WKRN.
Those with information on the whereabouts of Elizabeth and Cummins are asked to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.
Sources: WKRN, ABC News, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children / Photo credit: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation via WKRN