Elizabeth Thomas, a high school teen from a small town in Tennessee, gained national attention last year after allegedly being abducted by her then 51-year-old, married teacher Tad Cummins. Thomas was only 15 years old at the time of the kidnapping.
The two were the center of a nationwide AMBER ALERT for nearly 40 days before being discovered in a Northern California cabin. Thomas was immediately taken into treatment, while Cummins was arrested and booked on several charges including taking a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in criminal, sexual activity.
Prior to them being found, their situation was very controversial as it was unclear whether she was actually kidnapped or willingly ran away from home. There has been little development on the case since Cummins pled guilty to the charges earlier this year, but new details were revealed on Friday, September 21st.
For the first time, the young teen detailed her gut-wrenching kidnapping story to the public. In her interview, Thomas clarified that she was manipulated into leaving with him.
“They think they know what happened; they think that I like old men, but that’s not the case,” she began. “He made me feel like I didn’t have anyone else and no one really cared about me like he did.”
She revealed that the day they fled town, Cummins had a gun. From that point on, she “knew [she] wasn’t getting out of this.”
Before they left, Thomas trusted Cummins, her health teacher, as a mentor. However, their innocent relationship gradually took a turn for the worst. The teen described Cummins as “controlling.” He convinced her not to seek professional help when she was feeling “low.” Instead, he suggested that she go to him. Eventually, he upgraded to making inappropriate sexual comments and even kissed her, which made her very uncomfortable.
“I didn’t want anyone to really know. I was scared of what would happen if anyone did know,” she admitted. “I didn’t want to make him mad or make him want to come after me or anything like that.”
“He said if he couldn’t have me, he’d kill himself. Anytime he threatened himself, he’d threaten my family...I did [feel trapped],” she added.
Additionally, Cummins tried to convince Thomas to lie to authorities. He instructed her to say she went with him willingly and that they did not engage in any sexual activity.
“I know he’s a bad man,” the teen insisted. “I blame myself a lot, but now I know that he’s at fault. He himself made him do it. Other people don’t choose your actions, you do.”
Watch a clip from the ABC News special below:
Please continue to pray for Thomas as she moves on from this life-altering incident. May God use her story for His purpose!
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