Tad Cummins, the Tennessee teacher charged with kidnapping a 15-year-old student and driving her to California, had planned to take the girl to Mexico, according to federal court documents filed Monday. WATE reports his alleged intention was either to cross the border via land or to do a test-run in a small boat departing San Diego. In carrying out his "audacious scheme," the 50-year-old Cummins switched vehicle license plates twice, disabled his vehicle's GPS system, used aliases, altered his appearance, paid only in cash and used back roads during his nearly six weeks on the run with Elizabeth Thomas, according to the documents. The document alleges Cummins "made a number of damaging admissions to law enforcement that provide alarming insight inside his mentality."
Cummins acknowledged in federal court in Sacramento on Monday that he is the suspect in the case and agreed to return to Tennessee to face charges there. US Magistrate Judge Kendall Newman ordered him held as both a flight risk and a danger to the public. He offered minimal responses as he was advised of his rights and the charges that could send him to prison for 10 years to life. Cummins is charged with taking a minor across state lines to have sex and also faces state charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. Assistant federal defender Ben Galloway argued the girl went willingly and that Cummings had no criminal history. "This was not an abduction or kidnapping as has been suggested," he added in an emailed statement, per the AP. (His sister says Cummins explained his reasoning to her.)