It’s been about nine months since former high school teacher Tad Cummins, 50, was found hiding out in a rural cabin with his former student Elizabeth Thomas, 15, after a nationwide manhunt that lasted almost six weeks. Now as Tad faces multiple trials, dramatic new developments have come out in the case.
On March 13 of last year, Elizabeth and Tad disappeared from Maury County, Tennessee. Once authorities figured out that they were traveling together, a manhunt began. The search became nationwide as clues pointed toward a plan to take Elizabeth across the U.S. and possibly into Mexico.
After zig-zagging across the U.S., staying largely out of the public eye, Tad reportedly abandoned his attempt to escape by water across the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego. He then took the teen up north to a hippie commune before finding shelter in a tiny cabin after getting kicked out of the isolated northern California community, according to WKRN.
Tad faced state charges in California and Tennessee as well as federal charges for taking Elizabeth across state lines without her parents’ knowledge or permission. In dealing with the federal charges, Cummins originally accepted a public defender but later scraped together enough money from his family to hire defense attorney Brent Horst, according to the Tennessean.
Now that lawyer has quit. Horst says he attempted to interview Elizabeth in order to build his defense. But he may have contacted her after the judge in the case told him not to, leading to a possible federal investigation.
In another twist, Tad is also getting sued by Elizabeth’s family. According to People magazine, the family wants a “reasonable amount” of damages from Tad for allegedly sexually abusing her. But their lawsuit names Tad and Elizabeth’s school district, too.
The suit claims the school saw warnings signs about a possible relationship between the teacher and student. Indeed, another student did report seeing Tad and Elizabeth kissing in a classroom.
According to ABC News, the pair denied the kiss, and the school had no way to prove it happened. In response, they took Elizabeth out of Tad’s class and gave him a reprimand.
A few days later, the school sent Tad a warning for letting Elizabeth come back into his classroom. He was soon suspended without pay.
Elizabeth’s father said he was never notified by the school district about any of this. Now he wants the school to be held responsible for failing to keep his daughter away from a “predator.” As of Tuesday, the school had not responded to the media about the lawsuit.
What do you think of this? In other news, a former classmate of the oldest Turpin daughter is describing her condition back when she was allowed to attend grade school and admitting that he and others bullied her mercilessly.