Missing Tennessee student Elizabeth Thomas and the man who allegedly kidnapped her, former teacher Tad Cummins, were found safe in California Thursday.
One of Elizabeth's schoolmates reported seeing her and Cummins kiss in his classroom on January 23, according to a school district investigative report, but both denied the claim. The student notified school officials the next day.
The pair disappeared as a police investigation into their relationship was heating up.
Mr Cummins had been suspended from teaching at Culleoka Unit School - the same school Elizabeth attended in February.
This is the last known photo of Elizabeth Thomas before disappearing last week.
A nationwide Amber Alert was issued for Elizabeth, and hundreds of tips came in from more than 20 states, including California. He began working at the school in 2011.
The Maury County Sherriff's Office secures a warrant charging Cummins with one count of secual contact with a minor. Authorities also say Cummins may have abused his role as a teacher to groom Thomas. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also joined the search. "She has not spoken to Tad".
Tad Cummins - the school teacher apprehended in the abduction of a 15-year-old student - allegedly borrowed his wife's vehicle under the guise of going to a job interview before fleeing.
Cummins was added to the TBI's Top 10 Most Wanted list.
March 18, 2017: About 100 people gathered at Riverwalk Park for a candlelight vigil for Elizabeth Thomas.
"All we know is that she is healthy and unharmed. We are lucky and we are grateful that she will be retuning home looking forward to having her back in the county".
"I'm just so overjoyed to have her home, that she's safe", he told reporters outside a courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, Thursday afternoon.
March 13 - Thomas is dropped off at a Shoney's in Columbia, Tenn., by a friend. There was a $1,000 reward for information leading to his capture. After they went missing, Cummins's wife of 31 years, Jill, filed for divorce.
March 24 - Cummins' coworkers offered a reward in AMBER Alert.
As for Cummins, the sister says he's not their concern. They bought food items with cash.
Cummins appeared to have darkened his hair and Thomas may now have red hair.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, Thomas was found safe in Northern California.
Siskiyou County Sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Giordano did not immediately return a call for comment. The TBI worked more than 2,000 tips.
Authorities have not said what charges the 50-year-old health sciences teacher may face.
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