Cecilville, Cal. – A month long nationwide search for a 15 year old girl kidnapped in Tennessee by her teacher finally ended yesterday just south of us, in Siskiyou County. 50 year old Tad Cummins had abducted one of his students, 15 year old Elizabeth Thomas, in mid March. The two had been on the run for over a month, when they were located Thursday morning by authorities from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.
SCSO was acting on a tip given to them by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). The tip they received was that a male adult and a young female were staying in a cabin in Cecilville, an unincorporated community in a mountainous area of the county about an hour southwest of Yreka. With the suspect being possibly armed, the Department’s Special Response Team (SRT) planned a tactical response.
The SCSO SRT team got to the cabin and established a perimeter around it on Wednesday night. They then decided to wait until morning to arrest Mr. Cummins when he walked outside the cabin. On Thursday, April 20th just after 9:30am, Mr. Cummins exited the cabin and was taken into custody without incident. Thomas, the female juvenile victim also exited the cabin and was walking behind the suspect.
Two loaded handguns were found along with a number of personal items belonging to both of them.
Officials say Elizabeth Thomas appeared to be in good health and Mr. Cummins was cooperative with law enforcement at the scene. The suspect was taken to the Siskiyou County Jail in Yreka and booked on a TN fugitive arrest warrant for aggravated kidnapping.
Getting Cummins extradited back to TN is in the works. Members of the Memphis FBI and TBI investigators are en route to Siskiyou County in what is still an ongoing investigation. 15 year old Elizabeth Thomas has been transferred to FBI Agents in Redding, CA. She’ll have a forensic interview and as a crime victim, receive the care that she needs.
Mr. Cummins will be arraigned on Friday, April 21st at 10:00am.
Mr. Cummins also faces local charges for kidnapping and possession of stolen property. These and other charges are pending review by Siskiyou County District Attorney, Kirk Andrus.
SCSO Sheriff Jon Lopey stated that “I would like to commend the citizens that played a role in bringing Mr. Cummins’ activities to our attention, which led to a response by members of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office. I am proud of the men and women of this Department that played a role in this potentially dangerous surveillance and arrest, especially the Special Response Team responsible for the safe and successful resolution of this 6-week ordeal. The SRT worked in freezing weather conditions but resolved this mission without anyone getting hurt, which was a good day for our Department, the female victim, and her family. Like any major crime perpetrated against a young teenager, this case is a difficult one and will plague the victim, her family, friends, and the law enforcement officers and agents involved in the case for years to come. On behalf of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to offer our thoughts and prayers to the victim, her family, friends, and the all involved law enforcement officers and other members of the justice system as this investigation continues to achieve justice for all concerned.”
Anyone with any information about the activities of Mr. Cummins or his victim is urged to contact the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.