Tennessee teacher suspected in kidnapping arrested in northern California

Griffin Barry, the caretaker for several cabins in Northern California, allowed Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas to stay the night on the property and quickly realized it was the couple who were wanted by police in a nationwide manhunt that's been in effect for more than a month.

The student, Elizabeth Thomas, was found safe in Cecilville, northwest of Redding, her sister Kat Thomas said Thursday.

The teacher, police say, surrendered Thursday to sheriff's deputies outside a cabin in a remote northern area of the state after a tip was called into the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation that Cummins and the student had taken up residence there for about a week and a half.

Investigators received more than 1,500 tips from people across the country who said they may have seen Cummins or Thomas.

The teen and Cummins - a 50-year-old from Middle Tennessee - had been missing since March 13, when an Amber Alert was issued. They were last spotted by a Walmart surveillance camera in Oklahoma City on March 15, two days after they disappeared from Columbia, Tenn., almost 700 miles away.

One of Elizabeth's schoolmates reported seeing her and Cummins kiss in his classroom on January 23, according to a school district investigative report, but both denied the claim. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) held a press conference today and answered pressing questions about where Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas have been since March 13.

A BOLO, or be on the lookout was issued for both Cummins and Thomas. TBI Director Mark Gwyn said he's "facing a set of charges that should be keeping him behind bars for many years".

Cummins' wife, Jill files for divorce, alleging irreconcilable differences have arisen and exist between her and her husband.

"We're going to have to figure out what kind of state of mind she's in, of course, and probably get her some help", he said. Thankfully, she was found safe after her parents reported her missing!

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"It appears that she is healthy and she is not injured and this is awesome", her sister Kat told Burt Scott Staggs in a Facebook live video.

Authorities said Elizabeth will be returned to Tennessee on a TBI aircraft.

An attorney for the girl's family says she will be reunited with her family in Tennessee on Friday.

Tad Cummins, 50, who vanished in mid-March with Elizabeth Thomas, was apprehended on a fugitive warrant charging him with aggravated kidnapping and unlawful sexual contact with a minor, law enforcement officials said. Since then, the pair had been the subject of an ongoing AMBER Alert.

"As soon as she's ready for any help we can offer, we'll be there for her", said 22nd District Attorney General Brent Cooper.

"I feel a little amusing because there were all kinds of indications that there was something a little amusing going on never occurred to me that she was 15 years old".

Cummins was married for more than 31 years, and he had two children. The statement said the images captured showed Cummins had altered his hair to appear darker and Thomas may have changed her hair color to red.

We recently asked you to support our journalism. "I think at some point we'll have a good outcome of this case as a lot of them that we do", he said.

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