Missing Teen Warned Sibling Before Disappearance

Posted at 8:11 PM, Mar 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-20 21:49:27-04

The Maury County teenager who vanished with her alleged kidnapper warned a family member about the disappearance, according to the family attorney's office.

15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas reportedly told a sibling on the day of her disappearance that if she did not return by 6 p.m., to call police. 

It has been a week since Thomas went missing from Columbia. Officials with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation believed the teenager is in the custody of 50-year-old Tad Cummins, a former Culleoka Unit School teacher. 

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Documents obtained by NewsChannel 5 detailed the alleged inappropriate relationship between the two.

On January 23rd, a student reportedly spotted Cummins kissing Thomas in his classroom and was described to be "freaked out" by the incident.

That student then reported it to the school the next day after speaking with Cummins. The investigation report said that students approached Cummins to question him about his relationship with Thomas.

The report said, "Mr. Cummins commented to both Student 1 and Student 2 that he is a father figure to Beth. he commented he saw her as a close and best friend. He also revealed to both students that Beth had been through a lot and had suffered and abusive home life."

Both Cummins and Thomas denied the allegations but admitted they considered each other friends.

While the two were separated from being in the same class, it is reported that they kept in phone contact and through Instagram and Snapchat.

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Even though the student reported the alleged incident on January 24, Thomas' father was only notified a week later by the sheriff's office. 

Cummins taught classes two weeks after the student's report. On February 6, he was suspended on the very same day  Attorney Jason Whatley left the superintendent a letter discussing concerns about the handling of the situation. 

Whatley was hired by Anthony Thomas to handle the case. 

"To declare himself as a father figure to other students is beyond the pale," Whatley told NewsChannel 5. "We hope and pray that there is no evidence that it could've  been prevented."

Whatley says the Maury County Public Schools Central Office has been cooperative and chooses to focus the energy on finding Thomas first.

Cummins had been a teacher at Culleoka Unit Schol since 2011 before he was dismissed last week following the case.