TBI agents want to be clear. The 15-year-old Tennessee teenager at the center of an Amber Alert was kidnapped by her former teacher. This is not a romantic escape.
One official believes Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins could be in Mexico acting as missionaries. The TBI says they don’t know for a fact if Thomas and Cummins are in Mexico. What the TBI says is a fact is that the 15-year-old is in grave danger.
“This is no fairytale,” Said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “This is a case of kidnapping.” Gwyn wanted to make sure the public understood the case is still open and serious.
“She’s a high school freshman; he’s a former teacher this is and was not a romance,” said Gwyn, “This was manipulation.”
During a news conference Tuesday, Maury County D.A., Brent Cooper urged the public to share the Amber Alert poster with friends and family South of the Border suggesting that Cummins could be acting as a missionary in rural Mexico or South America.
The TBI has no evidence putting the pair in Mexico, but agents are not ruling this out. I n a tweet, the TBI confirming agents shared information with Mexican authorities.
TBI investigators aren’t alone in their belief there was no romantic relationship between the man and girl.
Thomas’ sister, Sarah, had this to say on ABC’s Good Morning America about when Cummins tried to visit Thomas at her job. “She would go and tell people to tell him she wasn’t there and she would go and hid until he left,” said Sarah Thomas.
Investigators say there are grave concerns for the safety of Elizabeth Thomas.
Regardless of the email communications and the tropical beach social media posts, she shared with Tad Cummins before the two went missing two weeks ago, Thomas may not realize she’s a victim in this situation.
“There is nothing pretty about this,” said Cooper. “This is a crime, and it’s a serious crime.”
The TBI is correcting information on Elizabeth’s physical description in the national crime database. She was originally listed as 5″5. They now believe she’s closer to 5 feet tall.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.