A day after 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas was found in a northern California cabin with her former teacher and suspected pedophile 50-year-old Tad Cummins, details are emerging about the unusual place they were hiding out in and why it took so long for their presence there to be reported.
After being asked to leave a long-established hippie commune Tad was hoping to hide out in, he and Elizabeth traveled a short distance to the remote community of Cecilville, Calif., not far from the Oregon border.
Desperate for gas, food, and money, Tad spoke with Griffin Barry, the young caretaker of the Cecilville Station, an off-the-grid saloon with a gas pump and a small fridge with refreshments. Griffin paid for their gas and gave Tad $40 in cash.
When Tad asked for a place to stay, Griffin offered him a cabin. The cabin, one of two tiny structures next to a stream, was fairly newly constructed but had no running water or electricity. There is little to no cellphone reception in the area.
The cabin where Tad and Elizabeth stayed is tucked away in trees but is less than 1,000 feet behind the gas station and rural highway.
The Cecilville Station, owned by a couple named Monkey and Allegra, had been developed into a highway stop and professional-level disc golf course but had limited lodgings. There are only a handful of other houses in the remote region, but with abundant recreational opportunities in the area, it proved to be an area too well connected to the outside world to hide Tad and Elizabeth for long.
They stayed there Tuesday night, and on Wednesday morning Tad asked Griffin for work. Later in the day, after Griffin had Tad help him move rocks out of the stream next to the cabin, he finally realized who he was.
Griffin secretly called 911 — the property has at least one landline phone — prompting authorities to arrive and stakeout the cabin until Thursday morning. When Tad emerged around 9:30 a.m. Pacific, he was arrested, and Elizabeth was found safe.
Tad had left his two handguns in the cabin and did not put up a fight. In fact, he even expressed relief that his 5-week flight from justice from Tennessee — 2,500 miles away — was finally over.
He now faces federal and state charges involving sexual contact with a minor and transporting her across state lines. If convicted of even just the federal charges, he faces a minimum 10 years in prison.
He may get charged in California as well for kidnapping and possession of stolen property.
Elizabeth has been reunited with her family.
Related story: Elizabeth Thomas Finally Reunited With Her Family
Thank you all for your prayers for Elizabeth to be rescued.