New Photos of Missing Tenn. Teacher, Student Released
Girl who saw kiss 'blames herself' for kidnapping
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2017 6:45 AM CDT
An image from surveillance video of Tad Cummins.   (TBI)
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(Newser) – With no confirmed sightings of a 15-year-old girl more than a week after she was allegedly kidnapped by her teacher, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation wants people nationwide to be on the lookout for Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins in rural areas or campgrounds. Investigators released video of the 50-year-old teacher and the last known photo of the teen Monday, the Tennessean reports. "She may not realize that she's a victim, but she is certainly a victim," says a TBI spokesman. "She needs help, she needs our best efforts and she needs the attention of this country to be on the lookout for her." The TBI wants anyone who spots Cummins' silver Nissan Rogue, license plate TN-976-ZPT, to call 911.

As the manhunt continues, the Maury County School Administration is being criticized for its handling of a student's report that she saw Elizabeth and Cummins kissing on Jan. 23. A family member tells the Columbia Daily Herald that after Cummins wasn't fired, the 12-year-old witness wondered if anyone believed her—and after the pair disappeared last Monday, she blamed herself for not persuading authorities to take action. The relative says Elizabeth knew the girl had reported her and would growl like a dog when they passed in the hallways. The relative adds that the girl believes Cummins talked Elizabeth into running away. She fears that it will end badly, and that "he will persuade her to do the wrong thing again."

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