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Teen Believed Abducted by Teacher Found Safe
21 April 2017, 02:52 | Gladys Abbott
15-year-old Tennessee student found safe after going missing for a month; teacher arrested in California
"Our intelligence analysts and agents have worked tirelessly since issuing this AMBER Alert to process more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states", TBI director Mark Gwyn said following the rescue of Elizabeth Thomas.
TBI says they received a tip in Siskiyou County, California of a possible sighting.
A warrant was issued for Cummins' arrest after TBI suggested he "may have been abusing his role as a teacher to groom this vulnerable young girl for some time in an effort to lure and potentially sexually exploit her". We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off. The efforts of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Maury County Sheriff's office, nationwide law enforcement community and media outlets promoting awareness of this case have brought us to this safe conclusion, and Maury County Public Schools wants to thank these many professionals for the good news today.
A 15-year-old Tennessee girl who went missing with her teacher over a month ago has been found safe. "It only takes one tip".
Giordano would not say specifically where but confirmed her agency was "working an active incident regarding the kidnapping". Thomas was right behind him and she detained for her protection. Authorities said that a TBI aircraft will bring the teenager home to Tennessee. "Our main concern is how she is emotionally and mentally".
Cummins is now in custody in the Siskiyou County Jail. He is being held without bond.
After the capture, one federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for the objective of having criminal sexual intercourse was filed against Cummins, said Jack Smith, acting USA attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
In addition to the state charges he was already facing, Cummins now faces a charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for the goal of having criminal sexual intercourse, which carries at least a 10 year prison sentence.
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The two vanished from Columbia, Tennessee, on March 13.
Lawrence County Attorney General Brent Cooper told the press that Cummins will face charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.
Both Cummins and Thomas were spotted on surveillance video at a Walmart in Oklahoma City back on March 15.
The teacher would later be reprimanded on February 3 by school principal Penny Love after the girl was seen in Cummins classroom for a little more than half an hour that day.
The Tennessean reports that Kat Bozeman, Elizabeth's sister, said that the family is "ecstatic" to learn that she has been found alive.
Rep. Sheila Butt, a Republican state lawmaker who represents Columbia, said Thursday was a great day for her community.
"We'll make sure she'll get what therapy she needs and that she's safe, that she knows she's safe."
She said she's proud of her community, and is confident local officials will find a way to learn from this entire ordeal. "I will let the courts deal with the ramifications of what happened here", Butt said.
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