Details were finally made public in the Elizabeth Thomas case in a federal arrest affidavit filed by Jonathan Hardison, a Columbia, Tennessee police officer who serves on an FBI task force.
The arrest affidavit was released in federal court records after Tad Cummins was arrested and Elizabeth Thomas was recovered safely in northern California on Thursday.
Read the full Affidavit here.
Here is what the Affidavit stated:
-The affidavit starts with reports that a School Resource Officer contacted sheriff’s investigators in late January saying a student had reported seeing Cummins and Thomas kiss.
-It includes a denial from Thomas that she and Cummins were kissing at school
-The Maury County Sheriff’s Office investigators went to the Culleoka Unit School, where Cummins was a teacher and Thomas, a student.
-“Detectives spoke with the student that saw Cummins and Thomas Kissing,“The student related that he/she saw VICTIM and Cummins kissing. The student described the kiss as a romantic peck rather than a father-daughter type kiss.
-References to Cummins getting Cialis prescriptions filled before he left town and at least two instances where Cummins secured hotel rooms with one bed in Oklahoma.
-A complaint filed in federal court in Tennessee contains an affidavit from Jonathan Hardison, a detective with the Columbia Police Department and a member of the FBI task force searching for Thomas.
-As of March 14 -- the day after Cummins and Thomas disappeared -- Amber Alerts had been issued in Tennessee and Alabama and Cummins was fired by the school system that said same day.
-On the morning of March 14, 2017, at approximately 7:30 a.m., Cummins' wife contacted MCSD and informed an MCSD Captain that Cummins did not come home the previous night and had left a note for her. She also advised that Cummins had taken out a loan the previous week of approximately $4500. Cummins' wife advised that Cummins had purportedly done this to meet their financial needs during his suspension from work without pay. She reported that the money was missing, along with two handguns, clothes, and toiletry items.
-The investigation also revealed that Cummins, while in Guymon, Oklahoma, traveled to another local Walmart with VICTIM on March 16, 2017, and purchased several items, including women's razors, chocolate, cheese cubes, and KY Jelly, a commonly used lubricant for sexual intercourse. The items were purchased with cash, and a copy of the receipt was obtained. Cummins and VICTIM were again captured on store surveillance images.
-Cummins and Thomas went undetected until March 29 when the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation got a call from a Super 8 Motel employee who reported Cummins had stayed at a location in Oklahoma City on March 15-16, the report states. Once investigators confirmed the hotel guest was Cummins, a witness told them he had asked for directions to Wal-Mart, court records state.
-Investigators got surveillance footage from a Wal-Mart near Interstate 240 on March 30 and confirmed Cummins and Thomas had been inside the store 15 days earlier.
-On April 1, investigators got a call from Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and learned Cummins booked a room in Guymon, Oklahoma on March 16-17. The room, the report says, had only one bed.
Finally Captured in California
The authorities have been encouraging the public to remain alert in secluded or off-the-grid areas, as they expected Cummins was keeping Thomas somewhere out of the public's eye.
The affidavit says they were located in Cecilville, California, by investigators on Thursday April 20, 2017.
“Cummins was arrested on a state warrant for aggravated kidnapping,” the affidavit says. “It is believed based on the investigation to date, as set forth herein, that Cummins, age 50, and VICTIM, age 15, are involved in a sexual relationship and traveled in interstate commerce to continue their relationship and to engage in an unlawful sexual activity.”
Thomas is expected to be back in Tennessee with her family today.
Cummins is being held in federal custody on a charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for sexual intercourse. The charge carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. In Tennessee, Cummins is being charged with felony kidnapping and misdemeanor having sexual contact with a minor.