Former teacher may have planned alleged abduction of teen, police say

Investigators are trying to find the teenager and the person they believe kidnapped her - a 50-year-old man who used to teach at her school.

As reported, Thomas, 15, went missing with her armed former teacher last Monday, with police expressing deep concern over "his intentions for her".

A Maury County School District investigative report said a student walking into Cummins' classroom on January 23 saw the teacher kissing Elizabeth. Cummins has been added to the state's "Top 10 Most Wanted" list. Authorities believe they're travelling together in the auto, which has the Tennessee license plate 976-ZPT.

An update on the case released Thursday indicated Cummins might have been "abusing his role" as a teacher to groom Thomas to lure and potentially sexually exploit the girl, described as 5-foot-5 and 120 pounds with blond hair and hazel eyes. She likely is wearing the flannel shirt and black leggings police say she was last seen wearing.

Tad Cummins is described as a 50-year-old white male with brown hair and brown eyes. Surveillance footage caught Cummins filling up his silver Nissan Rogue nearby around the same time.

According to reports, authorities believe Elizabeth Thomas was in Decatur, Alabama, on the afternoon of her disappearance. Cummins is now listed on the TBI's Top Ten Most Wanted list.

"And, you know, our Amber Alert is ongoing and it has been several days since anyone has seen Elizabeth Thomas or Tad Cummins".

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Cummins' wife, Jill, attended the press conference alongside deputies and pleaded for her husband to surrender.

Cummins was sacked last week on the day after Elizabeth was allegedly kidnapped, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.

"Tad, this is not you".

A warrant has been issued for Cummins for sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping. The "shockingly low number of tips" has led the TBI to conclude the pair are likely out of view of the general public or have traveled outside of the southeast, spokesman Josh DeVine said.

Cummins was sacked Tuesday, one day after he and Elizabeth went missing.

Elizabeth's family said in a statement, "We ask that you continue to share Elizabeth's story and to immediately notify law enforcement if you think you may have seen her. No matter how far you've gone or what is happening right now, God's grace is sufficient for you and he wants you to come home". A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his capture and Thomas' recovery.

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