Society

Tad Cummins' Family Speaks Out In Interview

| by Simone Stover

The family of a man accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl has appeared in a video, asking him to come home.

Elizabeth Thomas went missing on March 13 and is thought to be in the company 50-year-old Tad Cummins, her former teacher.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation believes that before their disappearance, Cummins "may have been abusing his role as a teacher to groom [Elizabeth] ... in an effort to lure and potentially sexually exploit her," reports ABC News. In addition, back in January, students at Elizabeth's school reported seeing the two of them kissing. 

Tad is currently wanted on allegations of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.

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On April 14, ABC News posted a video of an interview with Cummins' family. Those interviewed included his two daughters, Erica Osborne and Ashlee Conner. 

Osborne directly asked her father to come home, with Connor citing a Bible verse in order to encourage him to do so. 

"I've already forgiven him, no matter what he did, I'm always going to be there ... you don't give up on your family," Osborne went on to say. "Everything can be turned around, always, and be better in the end. There’s always a plan. There’s always a way to fix it."

"We understand that things are different," said Connor, "but when you love somebody you’re always going to forgive them."

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Osborne also said that she believed that Tad left because he was ashamed of his actions and did not know how to face his family.

Tad's wife, Jill Cummins, who has filed for divorce, also appeared in the interview.

"The Tad that I know is not the Tad that the world is seeing now," she said. "He is a wonderful person."

Jill also commented on her initial reaction when the allegations that Tad had been caught kissing Elizabeth came out.

"I had no reason not to believe him," she said. "Thirty-one years of marriage, you know? No problems, why would you not believe him?"

Jill also said that she knew Elizabeth personally, saying that she thought of her as "our third daughter sometimes." 

Jill also commented on having to address the press after her husband's disappearance.

“That’s not me," she said. "It was hard. But I knew I had to be strong and do it. For him and for Beth, because I wanted him found and I wanted him to either change his mind and come home, or I knew that would give more media exposure for more people to hear the story and see their faces and see them somewhere."

Elizabeth is described as a white female with blonde hair and hazel eyes, standing at 5-feet, 5-inches tall and weighing 120 pounds, according to an AMBER alert reported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Tad is described as a white male with brown hair and eyes, standing at 6 feet tall and weighing 200 pounds. 

The two are thought to be traveling in a silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee license plate 976ZPT, and Tad is suspected to be in possession of two handguns. Those with any information regarding their whereabouts are asked to call either 911 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-824-3463.

Sources: ABC News (2), National Center for Missing and Exploited Children / Photo credit: CRIMEWATCHERS/Twitter

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