In the midst of the 38-day search for 50-year-old kidnapping and pedophile suspect Tad Cummins and his 15-year-old former student Elizabeth Thomas, Elizabeth’s father Anthony filed a court petition that would allow him to bring witnesses forward who could clue investigators into the relationship and disappearance of the pair.
In Anthony’s petition, according to WKRN, Tad allegedly visited Elizabeth’s workplace frequently, and she would often hide from him, telling her coworkers to tell Tad she wasn’t there.
Now, according to The Tennessean, investigators have questioned Elizabeth’s Chick-Fil-A coworkers and supervisors and have found matching accounts.
Investigator Sgt. Marcus Albright said, "Myself and several investigators in the unit have been by [Chick-Fil-A] several times to talk to the management and employees. Mr. Cummins would visit this eatery a lot when she was working."
Court documents confirmed Tad’s frequent visits and Elizabeth’s tendency to hide from him.
But what Albright also revealed was, "Mr. Cummins knows the owners of this Chick-fil-A and, from my understanding, was able to get her a job here."
This reveals a deeper involvement in Elizabeth’s life by Tad than previously known. Other reports have detailed how Elizabeth would go to church with Tad and his wife Jill and would eat lunch with them.
It got to the point where Jill, who didn’t suspect a romantic relationship between her husband and his student, even warned Tad that he was getting too close.
In an interview with Inside Edition, Jill revealed, “[Tad] was getting really close to her — a father-daughter close, a friendship close. And I knew that. And I discussed that with him and explained to him that ‘She’s your student. We can’t be so close to her.’”
According to Anthony, witnesses said Tad and Elizabeth spent a lot of time alone together at school, she saw him as a mentor to help her deal with her difficult home life, and he even gave her gifts.
He also allegedly told Elizabeth she was at fault for him getting in trouble at school after a student reported seeing the two of them kiss. Anthony believes Tad made Elizabeth feel guilty as a way to help compel her to leave with him.
Investigators said they’ve found numerous signs of classic manipulation and “grooming” of Elizabeth by a textbook predator.
Not long after Tad was suspended from his teaching job, he and Elizabeth disappeared on March 13, keeping hidden from authorities until they were found in a remote northern California cabin on April 21.
Elizabeth continues to receive counseling while Tad faces state and federal charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual conduct with a minor.
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