15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas is undergoing treatment after she was found safe following her cross-country journey with her former teacher and pedophile suspect 50-year-old Tad Cummins.
While authorities believe Elizabeth may have gone with Tad willingly because of a relationship with the older man, they also strongly suspect she was heavily manipulated by Tad who saw her as easy prey after her reported abuse at the hands of her mother.
Related story: New Legal Action Taken Against Elizabeth Thomas’ Mom
Now back in her home state of Tennessee, Elizabeth is getting help from “some of the best [professionals] in the country,” according to her relatives.
Her older sister Kat Bozeman told People Magazine that “She needs love over anything else. Love is what’s going to heal her. We’re going to show her we love her unconditionally.”
Kat emphasized the importance of that type of love compared to what Elizabeth may have experienced from Tad, saying, “I’m trying to teach her this: to be loved unconditionally and not settle for anything less than that.”
Her dad Anthony added, “I have to let the counselors work with her. I’ve got to let them do their job, because I want this to turn out the right way. She’s been through a difficult experience — something you don’t find every day, a very uncommon experience. So I have to sit back and let these professionals do their job and take their recommendations.”
While Elizabeth is being treated at an undisclosed location and being kept away from social media and the news media, she is also spending time with her family. They hope to have her back home full-time in time for her 16th birthday in a few weeks.
“She’s going to be going through a lot … because [Tad] put her in a position where she was handling situations that a child that young is not meant to handle,” Anthony added.
Psychologist Michelle Stevens concluded that, “If she gets proper and sensitive help to allow her to deal with the guilt and shame that she is going to feel, she can absolutely move on from this.”