Timeline: The disappearance, recovery of Elizabeth Thomas

Posted at 1:44 PM, Apr 20, 2017

Elizabeth Thomas, age 15, disappeared on March 13 and wasn't recovered until 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 until the two were found in California.

January 4 - The Culleoka (Tenn.) Unit School administration was notified by a student that alleged that Cummins and Thomas had kissed. 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 (MCPS) Chief of Staff Dr. Amanda Hargrove contacted the Culleoka Unit School administration. An investigation was opened. (More)

January 26 - Investigators interviewed students, staff, and administration about the incident. (More)

January 27 - Thomas was removed from Cummins’ class. (More)

January 31 - School administrators were notified by law enforcement that Cummins was the subject of a criminal investigation. All information in the investigation was turned over to law enforcement 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, and Cummins later identified as a suspect. Cummins was also terminated from MCPS. (More)

March 14 - An AMBER Alert for Thomas was issued. A warrant issued for Cummins' arrest was issued soon after. (More)

March 15 - Cummins and Thomas were captured on surveillance video at a Walmart in Oklahoma City. The sighting was not confirmed or reported until March 31. (More)

March 16 - A national "Be On The Lookout" alert was issued, and the FBI was called in to assist in the investigation. (More)

March 17 - Cummins’ wife pleaded for him to come home. (More)
                   Cummins was added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's (TBI) Top Ten Most Wanted list. (More)

March 19 - Neighbors reacted to Thomas’ disappearance. (More)

March 20 - Investigators profiled Cummins. (More)
                   Information surfaced saying Thomas warned a sibling before her disappearance. (More)
                   Thomas' brother pleads for her safe return. (More)

March 21 - TBI revealed a “troubling pattern of behavior" with Cummins. (More)
                   Maury County Schools released a timeline of their investigation. (More)

March 23 - Thomas’ family released a statement. (More)
                   Cummins’ vehicle allegedly spotted in Texas. The sighting turned out to be false. (More)

March 24 - Cummins’ coworkers offered a reward in AMBER Alert. (More)
                   The Maury County Schools formed a Task Force in response to the AMBER Alert. (More)

March 25 - TBI said more than 1,000 tips had come in, but there were still no credible sightings. (More)

March 27 - A former student of Cummins spoke out. (More)
                   Thomas and Cummins had been missing for two weeks. (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). (More)
                   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 found at a commune in Cecilville. (More)