A statement has been released on behalf of Elizabeth Thomas’ family.
The Maury County 15-year-old was dropped off by a friend at a Shoney's on Monday, March 13 and was later reported missing by her parents.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials said Thomas’ former high school teacher, identified as 50-year-old Tad Cummins, kidnapped her sparking an AMBER ALERT. The case turned into a nationwide search.
In the statement released Thursday, family members said the last ten days have been “the most difficult” in their life.
“The family has been overwhelmed with the kindness shown to us by the Maury County community and beyond,” the statement read.
The family thanked many groups and people in the statement, including law enforcement, press, and the Maury County School System.
“Despite some of the stories that have been broadcast, the Thomas family wishes to express that the family and the schools are unified in [finding Elizabeth]. Whatever questions about how issues were handled when Elizabeth was in school are distant and secondary and, in many ways, distracting, to the core issue of finding her. We thank the Maury County School System for its continued help in finding Elizabeth,” they said.
The family said law enforcement needs more tips, and they added they’re desperate for information.
“Elizabeth must be found. Time is of the essence. Thank you, and may God be with Elizabeth,” her family said to end the statement.
The statement was released by Attorney S. Jason Whatley on behalf of Elizabeth's family.
Cummins taught at Culleoka Unit School where Thomas goes to school. He was terminated on Tuesday, March 14. TBI agents said a troubling pattern of behavior indicated that Cummins planned the alleged abduction and feared the two could be anywhere in the country.
Authorities said Thomas could be in imminent danger. Cummins was said to be armed and dangerous.
Cummins has been facing charges of sexual contact with a minor and kidnapping. He has been added to the TBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list.
Anyone with information has been urged to contact 1-800-TBI-FIND (1-800-824-3463).