TBI: Amber Alert suspect researched teen marriage before disappearing

MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tad Cummins, the former Maury County teacher at the center of an Amber Alert, reportedly did online research about teen marriage just days before disappearing with a 15-year-old student.

Elizabeth Thomas hasn’t been seen or heard from since Monday, March 13, and it’s believed she’s with the 50-year-old who authorities say groomed her for months.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says their efforts have unveiled a “troubling pattern of behavior,” part of which included the research into teen marriage just eight days before they vanished.

Cummins also reportedly researched his Nissan Rogue just three days before Thomas was taken. The TBI says he was trying to determine if certain features could be tracked by law enforcement.

TBI shared this photo of Cummins and Thomas together at school days before the alleged inappropriate contact.

Before the Amber Alert was issued, Cummins was already under investigation by Maury County Schools after another student reportedly witnessed him kiss Thomas at school. He faces charges of sexual contact with a minor in that investigation.

Cummins was then terminated from his position at Culleoka Unit School the day after the two disappeared, and he now faces charges of kidnapping in the Amber Alert case.

The TBI also commented on the surveillance video captured March 7 that show Cummins shopping for hair dye at the Walmart in Columbia. The bureau says it has been able to determine his purchase was not connected to any plan to chance his appearance or the appearance of Thomas.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the TBI has received more than 650 leads. The lack of confirmed sightings, however, continues to lead TBI to believe Cummins could have Thomas hidden from view of the general public or far away from Tennessee.

Property owners, especially in rural areas, are urged to search their grounds for both Cummins and Thomas, his vehicle, or any suspicious activity.

The TBI would also encourage campgrounds, parks, and other isolated areas to remain vigilant and on the lookout for any sign of them.

Pictures of suspect Tad Cummins captured the week prior to the kidnapping of Elizabeth Thomas (TBI)

To that end, large parking lots and garages should also be searched for the vehicle described in the Amber Alert.

Thomas is a 15-year-old white female, with hazel eyes, stands 5 feet tall and weighs 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings.

Cummins is a white male, who stands 6 feet tall, weighs approximately 200 pounds, and has brown hair and eyes.

He is believed to be armed with two handguns and driving a silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee tag 976-ZPT.

On Friday, the TBI added Cummins to the state’s ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

The TBI would urge the public to remain vigilant and report any information that may prove beneficial in the ongoing search to 1-800-TBI-FIND. If you spot the vehicle and can verify the license plate to be TN 976-ZPT, call 911 immediately.

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