Sheriff says so few leads in AMBER Alert case is ‘very frustrating’

(Graphic: WKRN; Photos: TBI)

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) – It has been nine days, and there‘s still no sign of Elizabeth Thomas or her former teacher Tad Cummins, who she is believed to be with.

Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland told News 2 Wednesday investigators have received hundreds of tips in the search for Thomas and Cummins but so far, none of them have been credible.

“To have this much coverage, and to have so few leads, especially leads that have been fruitless really, is very frustrating,” said Sheriff Rowland.

MORE: TBI receives 700 tips in ongoing AMBER Alert

Investigators have been working long hours as they weed through all the tips, they believe Cummins convinced Thomas to run away with him.

As the sheriff explained, at some point officers are going to have to scale back on the manpower they are putting into this case.

PHOTOS: AMBER Alert for Elizabeth Thomas

(Graphic: WKRN; Photos: TBI)

“Our guys, including myself, we have been 16, 18 hours up until yesterday. At some point, you have to go back to somewhat of a normal schedule. You just can’t continue to go that many hours that hard, that long,” said Sheriff Rowland.

Students are also struggling to deal with what happened to their classmate. Ninth grader Jason Plunkett told News 2 Cummins was his teacher and Thomas is his good friend.

He said he heard the rumors about inappropriate contact between Thomas and Cummins, but until now he didn’t believe they were true.

RELATED: Maury County Schools releases timeline of investigation into Tad Cummins

“He was my favorite teacher, I loved being around him. He was always nice, sweet, seemed like a very caring person,” said Plunkett.

Tad Cummins (Courtesy: TBI)

The sheriff told News 2 that local, state and federal agencies are sharing information and working together to try and solve this case.

The TBI says days before the two went missing, Cummins searched online to see if police could track his car. He also researched teen marriage.

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.

Click here for more on the AMBER Alert for Elizabeth Thomas.