Elizabeth Thomas, 15, a Columbia, TN., high school student, who has not been seen since earlier this year on March 13 and prompted a nationwide Amber Alert, has been found safe, and her alleged abductor and former teacher, Tad Cummins, 50, was arrested.
They were found on Thursday at a northern California commune
Authorities reportedly first located Cummins’ Nissan Rogue. The vehicle’s original license plate had been removed, but officials were able to confirm the vehicle through its VIN.
Officials later found Thomas and Cummins, who surrendered without incident. Police say they are still working to reunite Thomas with her family.
The teacher and student took off from Columbia after a student had reported seeing them kissing at the school.
Thomas was reported missing after being dropped off by a friend at the Shoney’s in Columbia, TN, on March 13th. An Amber Alert was issued on March 14th.
The last confirmed sighting of Cummins and Thomas was in Oklahoma City on March 15th.
Cummins is being held by the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department without bond. He is awaiting extradition to Tennessee, where he will be charged with sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping.
TBI Director Mark Gwyn said the agency received more than 1,500 leads during the search, reaching all 50 states.
The TBI is planning a news conference for 4:00 PM EDT to release more details.