NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Officials with Maury County Public Schools have released a timeline of the district’s investigation of allegations against Tad Cummins, a former teacher, who is currently at the center of a nationwide search after authorities believe he kidnapped 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas.
“On behalf of the Maury County Public School system, we hope and pray for the safe return of Elizabeth Thomas,” said Superintendent Dr. Christopher J. Marczak. “We continue to cooperate with law enforcement in the sharing of all pertinent information while the search continues.”
Thomas, a high school freshman, was a student in Cummins’ forensics class at Culleoka Unit School. An investigation began after a student reported they witnessed Cummins kiss Thomas. He was ultimately fired last week, the a day after he and Thomas disappeared.
On Tuesday, the school released a timeline into their investigation involving Cummins.
- Jan. 24, 2017: Culleoka Unit School administration was notified by a student concerning an allegation of contact witnessed between Cummins and a student. The complaint stated, “It wasn’t like a make out kiss, just a peck on the lips.” Culleoka Unit School Administration gathered all information that day from the student who was said to have witnessed the alleged inappropriate contact.
- Jan. 25, 2017: MCPS Chief of Staff, Dr. Amanda Hargrove, was contacted by Culleoka Unit School administration, and Dr. Hargrove immediately began an investigation.
- Jan. 26 – Mon., Jan. 30, 2017: As per Board policy 5.500 and 6.305, Dr. Hargrove and staff investigated the allegations by interviewing all pertinent parties, including students, staff and administration.
- Jan. 27, 2017: The student named in the alleged concern was removed from Cummins’ class and schedule by Culleoka Unit School Administration.
- Jan. 31, 2017: MCPS administration was notified by law enforcement that Cummins was the subject of a criminal investigation. MCPS turned over all known information and documentation to law enforcement about the recent allegations against Cummins at Culleoka Unit School, which were still under investigation by MCPS.
- Feb. 3, 2017: Late Friday afternoon, MCPS received an allegation that Cummins had been in contact with the same student, despite explicit directives from his supervisor not to interact.
- Feb. 6, 2017: At 8 a.m., Dr. Hargrove met with Cummins and suspended him from his duties at Culleoka Unit School.
Cummins’ final termination from MCPS was prompted by his allegedly fleeing the area on March 13, reported to MCPS by law enforcement. A termination document was finalized by MCPS on March 14.
An AMBER Alert remains in effect for Thomas, who has not been seen since Monday, March 13 after she was dropped off at a Shoney’s in Columbia by a friend around 8 a.m.
Neither Thomas or Cummins have been heard from in over a week, but it is believed the teen is with the former teacher. A family attorney for the Thomas family said they noticed Thomas added a ring emoji with the caption “WIFE” to her Instagram account around the time of her disappearance.
Thomas has hazel eyes, stands 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings.
Cummins is a 6-foot-tall white man who weighs around 200 pounds. He has brown hair and eyes, and he’s believe to be armed with two handguns.
Cummins faces charges for aggravated kidnapping and having sexual contact with Thomas. He was added to the state’s “Most Wanted” list last ween and there is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his capture.
The TBI urges anyone who has information about the case to call 1-800-TBI-FIND. If you spot the Nissan Rogue and can verify the license plate TN 976-ZPT, call 911 immediately.