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TBI: Still No Information on Elizabeth Thomas's Disappearance

Mary Catherine Elizabeth Thomas
Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins
Posted at 10:22 AM, Mar 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 10:45:43-04

Authorities are still looking into leads but two weeks after a 15-year-old girl and her former teacher went missing, there has been no sign of the two, they said Tuesday.

In a news conference Tuesday morning to update their search for Elizabeth Thomas and her alleged kidnapper, 50-year-old Tad Cummins, authorities cautioned against the characterization that the two were involved romantically.

"This is not a romance," TBI Director Mark Gwyn said. "This was a manipulation solely to benefit Tad Cummins. This is not a fairy tale. This is a kidnapping."

Thomas and Cummins both went missing from Columbia, Tenn., March 13. Cummins had been suspended from his teaching job after a student reported seeing the two kiss in a classroom.

Authorities have said they believe Cummins was grooming Thomas for possible sexual exploitation.

Cummins faces charges of kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.

Thomas is 5 feet tall and about 120 pounds with blond hair and hazel eyes. Cummins is 6 feet tall and 200 pounds.

The two may be in a silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee plate number 976ZPT.

"Two weeks into this, we would still urge the public if they have any information about the relationship between these two individuals, give us a call at 1-800-TBI-FIND," said TBI spokesman Josh Devine. "But we also want to be very clear with you. If you're driving down the road and find yourself behind that vehicle, try to do what you can to safely snap a picture and contact 911 immediately. In those types of instances, time is absolutely of the essence."