Society

New Evidence Arises A Month After Girl Goes Missing (Photo)

| by Shani Shahmoon

Nearly a month after a teenage girl and her teacher went missing, new evidence has appeared.

Maury County, Tennessee, has been on high alert since March 13, when 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas and her teacher, 50-year-old Tad Cummins, went missing.

According to the Independent Journal Review, Elizabeth was dropped off early in the morning at a local restaurant where she worked, and hasn't been seen since. All the while her health teacher, who was suspended for allegedly kissing Elizabeth on school grounds, has also been missing. The latter is suspected to have kidnapped Elizabeth. The pair has been at the top of Tennessee's Amber Alert list since, resulting in over 1,000 tips -- but nothing has been confirmed.

On April 6, Anthony Thomas, the missing girl's father, filed a 12-page petition on behalf of the missing teen, The Tennessean reported. The cased claims that Cummins "groomed" Elizabeth, instilling fear in her if she didn't do as she was told. The petition also insists that Cummins stalked the young girl prior to her abduction.

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In addition, the petition requests authorization for family attorney Jason Whatley to take depositions from people who knew more details regarding the relationship between Cummins and Elizabeth but are hesitant to contribute to the case.

Since his daughter's kidnapping, Anthony has reportedly heard from several sources of the tumultuous build up to his daughter's disappearance.

"The child had told various siblings and/or friends that she was scared of Cummins and felt in over her head," the filing states.

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It also goes on to detail situations where Cummins would appear at the restaurant Elizabeth worked in. The teen would hide from him and tell coworkers to lie and tell him she wasn't at work.

Witnesses even came clean and stated that the teenager had been exploited by her teacher in school.

According to reports, Elizabeth had a special seat next to Cummins, who had allegedly bribed her with money and gifts. Students also witnessed physical contact between the two, such as the rubbing of Elizabeth's shoulders and back while in school.

"Cummins preyed upon the child for months on end, nudging and molding her until her will to resist was conflicted and ultimately broken," the filed petition stated, AL.com reported.

 "She is for all purposes a victim of a masterfully manipulating predator," it added.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation concluded that the last confirmed sighting of the two was on a surveillance camera at an Oklahoma City Wal-Mart on March 15, two days after they went missing. The footage was found two weeks after her disappearance.

Elizabeth was homeschooled up until this academic year, when she started at Culleoka Unit School. Cummins had worked at the school since 2011, but was officially fired after the two had been reported to be kissing on campus, according to The Tennessean.

The missing girl is described as 5-feet 5-inches tall and weighing 120 pounds with blonde hair and hazel eyes. Authorities describe Cummins as a 6-foot tall male weighing 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

If you have any information regarding their whereabouts, contact authorities immediately by calling the Maury County Sheriff’s Office at 931-388-5151 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Sources: Independent Review Journal, AL.com, The Tennessean   / Photo credit: TodayTBI via Twitter

Will the teen be returned home safely?
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