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MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The wife of Tad Cummins, a former Maury County teacher believed to have taken a 15-year-old girl, pleaded for him to “do the right thing.”
Jill Cummins spoke at a press conference Friday afternoon with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as an AMBER Alert remains in effect for Elizabeth Thomas. Hear her full remarks in the video above.
“My heart breaks for the family of Beth Thomas,” the wife said. “I want her home just as much as the rest of you, but I’m also very worried about Tad.”
PHOTOS: AMBER Alert for Elizabeth Thomas
Thomas, 15, vanished Monday after a friend dropped her off at the Columbia Shoney’s restaurant between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m.
Authorities believe she is with Cummins, who has now been charged with aggravated kidnapping in the case. He already faced one count of sexual contact with a minor.
His wife spoke directly to her husband, saying, “Tad, this is not you. This is not who you are. We can help you get through this, no matter how far you’ve gone or what’s happening right now, God’s grace is efficient through you, and he wants you to come home. Your family wants their poppy back. Please do the right thing and turn yourself in to the police and bring Beth home.”
Maury County District Attorney, Brent Cooper, said he has known Cummins since childhood and he is also pleading for him to turn himself in.
“I’d just tell Tad, you know, you’ve made a huge mistake here and the consequences are only going to get worse the longer this goes on. The main thing we want is for her to be returned safely, so just call somebody. Pick up the phone – call your sister, call your parents, call the police – somebody and bring this to a peaceful conclusion,” Brent Cooper.
The TBI has said it is “extremely concerned” for Thomas with spokesman Josh DeVine adding Friday, “This is a dire situation for this young girl.”
Authorities say their investigation has revealed a disturbing pattern of behavior from Cummins, saying 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.”
So far, the TBI has received 250 tips from 24 states. They describe this number as “shockingly low,” leading them to believe Cummins and Thomas could be out of the public eye or beyond the southeast region.
“We need the public’s assistance not just in Tennessee, not just in the southeast, but across this nation,” DeVine said.
On Friday, authorities added Cummins to the Top 10 Most Wanted List.
He is a 50-year-old white male who is 6 feet tall and weighs approximately 200 pounds. He has brown hair and eyes.
Cummins is believed to be armed with two handguns and driving a silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee tag 976-ZPT.
Thomas is a 15-year-old white female with blonde hair and hazel eyes. She is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings.
The TBI is urging 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, call 911.