Nationwide search for missing teen with ex-teacher - WNEM TV 5

Nationwide search for missing teen with ex-teacher

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Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is now expanding its search for missing teenager Mary Catherine Elizabeth Thomas. Thursday, they issued a nationwide be-on-the-lookout alert.

Investigators believe the 15-year-old is with her 50-year-old teacher, Tad Cummins, who’s accused of having inappropriate contact with Thomas while at school.

The TBI believes Thomas is in serious danger.

Thomas and Cummins’ relationship, the TBI told WSMV, started at school. Now there are serious questions about whether the Maury County School District did enough to prevent this from happening in the first place.

On social media, Cummins calls himself a Jesus freak, a husband, father, grandfather and teacher at the Culleoka Unit School in Maury County. But to state and federal investigators, he’s a wanted man.

Wednesday, Maury County Schools released a statement saying they suspended Cummins due to a law enforcement investigation.

Jason Whatley represents Thomas’ family. He says the district actually waited 14 days before they suspended Cummins, and it wasn’t until they sent the district a letter of concern.

Thursday, officials with Maury County Schools are changing their story. They now tell WSMV that after the allegations surfaced on Jan. 24, they investigated and found nothing to substantiate the claims of inappropriate contact. They say they suspended Cummins on Feb. 6 for insubordination.

After being suspended, Cummins took to Instagram, posting things like “It was love at first sight” and “Something beautiful is on the horizon,” leading many to wonder, what happened during those 14 days when Cummins and Thomas were at school together?

And more importantly, where are they now?

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