It’s been three weeks since 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas went missing from a Tennessee town with her 50-year-old former teacher Tad Cummins. And since the March 13 disappearance, Elizabeth’s dad Anthony says he’s learned a heartwrenching slew of details about how dangerously manipulative Tad was.
In a petition sent Thursday to the Chancery Court for Maury County, Anthony claims he had no knowledge of Tad and Elizabeth’s relationship before March 13 but since then has learned these disturbing details from other people close to his daughter:
1. Tad gave Elizabeth inflated views of himself, leading her to believe he was “a millionaire, a former Special Forces soldier, and the like.”
2. Elizabeth went missing after she was “dropped off by a friend at Shoney’s Restaurant in Columbia, Tennessee, carrying with her two bags.” She told her friend she “wanted to be taken back home” and was having second thoughts spending the day with her “teenager” friend “Thomas.” Elizabeth disappeared after that.
3. Tad occasionally picked Elizabeth up to share a meal with her, “threatening her that if she did not go with him she would face repercussions at school.”
4. Elizabeth told siblings and friends that she was scared of Tad and felt “in over her head” in the relationship.
5. Tad frequently visited the fast food place Elizabeth worked. Elizabeth sometimes hid from him and would ask coworkers to lie to Tad about her being there.
6. Tad led Elizabeth to believe that because of the kiss they shared her future work and educational careers were doomed. He also led her to believe she would be punished if he got fired for the kiss. Tad was later fired over allegations of the kiss.
7. Elizabeth often spent time alone with Tad in his classroom and was found sleeping alone in there once.
8. Tad gave Elizabeth special treatment in his class, offered her gifts, and would even rub her back and shoulders at school.
9. Tad admitted to being a “father figure” to Elizabeth because of her abusive home life. He used that “position of authority” to control her.
It’s important to note that these claims have not yet been confirmed, and it’s odd that very little of this came out before Elizabeth’s disappearance. If they are true, though, they paint a picture of a teenager coerced into fleeing with a highly manipulative abductor rather than a willing participant in a romantic escape.
Many people have questioned how unwilling Elizabeth may have been due to surveillance video of her walking into an Oklahoma City Walmart with Tad on March 15 and not crying out for help or attempting to run away.
But whether or not she was willingly running away with Tad then, or is still willingly staying with him three weeks later, authorities are considering her to be in great danger and in need of rescue.
Elizabeth is a 15-year-old white female with blonde hair that may be red now. She has hazel eyes, is five feet tall, and weighs about 120 pounds.
Tad is a 50-year-old white male with gray and black hair that appears be dyed black now. He was last seen with a mustache, goatee, and dark-rimmed glasses. He has brown eyes, is six feet tall, and weighs about 200 pounds.
If you spot them, please call 911. Tad is believed to be in possession of multiple firearms.