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Father of Elizabeth Thomas opens up about daughter's rescue, return home

Father of Elizabeth Thomas opens up about daughter's rescue, return home

Tad Cummins, the former Tennessee teacher accused of kidnapping 15-year-old student Elizabeth Thomas, took out a $4,500 loan just before they disappeared and planned to flee the country with her, authorities alleged in court documents Monday.

The federal judge read Tad Cummins his charges, which include transporting a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity.

The school's investigative files provided to The Associated Press by the attorney show that both Cummins and the girl denied kissing. As authorities in Tennessee acknowledge, the alleged victim left of her own free will.

He's accused of travelling in disguise and using various techniques to avoid law enforcement, including taking back roads to travel through 9 states, disabling the Global Positioning System on his wife's 2015 Nissan Rogue, and switching the license plate twice.

Cummins got a small watercraft and conducted a test run to cross into Mexico across the water from San Diego.

A Tennessee high school teacher, charged with taking a student to a California commune to continue a sexual relationship, had his initial appearance in a Sacramento federal courtroom Monday.

Documents also revealed that Cummins fled Tennessee because he was anxious an investigation would ruin his relationship with the teen. An Amber Alert was issued for Elizabeth, while Cummins was wanted on allegations of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. "I think he did go there and speak with some people, but then wound up going back to Cecilville", Houtman said. She has returned home and is being treated by a team of therapists. "He surrendered without incident and has been co-operative with investigators".

Elizabeth was flown to Tennessee Friday where she was reunited with friends and family, the family's attorney said. That charge carries a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, but Cummins could be sentenced to as much as life as prison, according to the USA attorney's office. Court documents state Cummins meant to take the minor to Mexico.

He says another law enforcement official told him that Cummins allegedly said, "I'm glad this is over".

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it worked tirelessly for the past five weeks, looking into more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states.

During their 39 days on the run, the pair was caught on surveillance video at an Oklahoma Walmart and police say they stayed at cheap motels with one bed.

"He's done this disgusting thing that he has to pay for, but he's still my brother and I love him", Quinn said on NBC.

Thomas' father said last week he believes his daughter was "brainwashed" by Cummins. "She may not be exactly. the person she was because there's a lot of experiences she's had".


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