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Missing Tennessee Teen Found And Teacher Tad Cummins Arrested


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According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tad Cummins, the teacher accused of abducting 15-year-old Mary Catherine Elizabeth Thomas, has been arrested. Thomas is now safe in Northern California.

What Happened?

On March 13, Cummins disappeared, taking Thomas with him. The case garnered a month-long AMBER Alert; investigators said the two had gone “off the grid.” According to Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kelly Giordano, the vehicle used by Cummins was found in northern California late Wednesday night. While Giordano wouldn’t disclose the exact location of the SUV, she said the license plate was confirmed to belong to Cummins through the VIN number.

“We are currently working an active incident regarding the kidnapping,” she said.

Authorities claim that Cummins “groomed” Thomas for months. According to a Maury County Public Schools spokesperson, Cummins was suspended from teaching after the two were caught kissing. Cummins was then fired on Tuesday, March 14.

The arrest in California comes weeks after the pair were spotted on a surveillance camera at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma City on March 15.


Cummins has reportedly been charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact in the disappearance of Thomas, who attends Culleoka Unit School in Maury County.

Where Is Siskiyou County?

Siskiyou County is a county in the northernmost part of California. in 2010, the population was around 44,900. Siskiyou County is about 120 miles south of the California-Oregon state line.

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Tabitha Shiflett is a graduate of the Dub (The University of North Carolina Wilmington, UNCW). She's written for Her Campus, CBS Local, and Elite Daily. She is currently enrolled in the Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism MA program at The New School in New York City.