Elizabeth Thomas, age 15, disappeared on March 13 and wasn't recovered till April 20. Authorities said she was found safe in Northern California. The man who allegedly kidnapped her, identified as her former teacher 50-year-old Tad Cummins, was taken into custody.
The two were allegedly found at a commune in Cecilville, California on Thursday.
Here's a timeline showing the investigation from the moment issues allegedly arose till the two were found in California.
January 4 - The Culleoka Unit School administration was notified by a student about an allegation of contact witnessed between Cummins and Thomas. The complaint stated, “It wasn’t like a makeout kiss, just a peck on the lips.” Administration gathered information that day from the student who witnessed the alleged kiss. ( More )
January 25 - Maury County Public Schools Chief of Staff Dr. Amanda Hargrove contacted by Culleoka Unit School administration. Investigation began. ( More )
January 26 - Interviews conducted of students, staff, and administration. ( More )
January 27 - Thomas removed from Cummins’ class. ( More )
January 31 - School administration notified by law enforcement that Cummins was the subject of a criminal investigation. All known information in the investigation was turned over to the law by the school system. ( More )
February 3 - MCPS received an allegation that Cummins had been in contact with Thomas despite explicit directives from his supervisor. ( More )
February 6 - Dr. Hargrove met with Cummins and suspended him from his duties at Culleoka Unit School. ( More )
March 13 - Thomas goes missing, Cummins later identified as a suspect. This also prompted Cummins' final termination from MCPS. ( More )
March 14 - AMBER Alert issued. Warrant issued for Cummins' arrest soon after. ( More )
March 15 - Cummins and Thomas were captured in surveillance video at a Walmart in Oklahoma City, but this was not confirmed or reported till March 31. ( More )
March 16 - National BOLO issued, and FBI called in to assist in the investigation. ( More )
March 19 - Neighbors reacted to Thomas’ disappearance. ( More )
March 25 - TBI said more than 1,000 tips had come in, but there were still no credible sightings. ( More )
March 28 - A former student of Cummins’ claimed he wrote her a love song. ( More )
March 30 - An alleged sighting of Cummins and Thomas in Shelby County was confirmed to be false. ( More )
March 31 - TBI confirmed a sighting of Cummins and Thomas at a Walmart in Oklahoma City (had been seen in surveillance video from March 15). (
Cummins’ wife filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences and inappropriate marital conduct. The date of separation was listed as March 13, the same day Cummins and Thomas went missing. ( More )
April 3 - TBI confirmed photos from Nebraska police were not Cummins and Thomas. ( More )
April 7 - A petition from Thomas’ father was released in an effort to gather testimonies under oath. The petition stated Thomas had allegedly become “fearful” of Cummins. ( More )
April 12 - A report was released stating Cummins left a note for his wife on the day of his disappearance. ( More )
April 20 - Cummins was arrested in Northern California, and Thomas was found safe. They were allegedly found at a commune in Cecilville. ( More )