After being missing for 38 days, missing 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas of Maury County and her former teacher, Tad Cummins were found at a commune in California on Thursday, April 20, after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation received a tip.
Jan. 23, 2017: A student allegedly caught Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas kissing at Culleoka Unit School. The student notified school officials the next day.
Jan. 25, 2017: Maury County Sheriff’s Officer begins investigating after student reports the pair kissing.
Jan. 31, 2017: The school is notified Cummins is under criminal investigation.
Feb. 6, 2017: Cummins is suspended from his job at Culleoka Unit School in Maury County.
March 13, 2017: Elizabeth Thomas was dropped off at a Maury County Shoney’s between 7:30 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. by a friend. That’s the last time she was seen in Tennessee before her disappearance.
Cummins was seen filling up his silver SUV at a nearby gas station around 8:30 a.m. just before picking Thomas up from the restaurant.
Thomas, 15, was reported missing later March 13 by family and was entered into the nation’s law enforcement internal communications database. Authorities said they received information she was in Decatur, Alabama, around 3 p.m.
March 14, 2017: An Endangered Child Alert was issued before the TBI upgraded the alert to a statewide AMBER Alert.
Cummins was officially terminated from his position at Culleoka Unit School. He began working at the school in 2011.
The Maury County Sherriff’s Office secures a warrant charging Cummins with one count of secual contact with a minor.
March 16, 2017: The TBI said it remains “extremely concerned” for Thomas. Authorities also say Cummins may have abused his role as a teacher to groom Thomas.
A BOLO, or be on the lookout was issued for both Cummins and Thomas. The FBI was also called in to help with the search.
March 17, 2017: Tad Cummins’ wife, Jill, speaks for the first time and pleads for her husband to “do the right thing.”
Jill Cummins said she wants Elizabeth Thomas home “as much as the rest of you, but I’m also very worried about Tad.”
Maury County District Attorney, Brent Cooper, said he had known Cummins since childhood and pleads for him to turn himself in.
Cummins was added to the TBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list.
March 18, 2017: About 100 people gathered at Riverwalk Park for a candlelight vigil for Elizabeth Thomas.
Thomas’ family was in attendance and made emotional pleas for her to come home to them.
The family also spoke about the outpouring of support they have received from the community.
Her dad said, “We are going to get her back. We are going to get her back. Please help us bring her home.”
March 20, 2017: Thomas and Cummins have been missing for one week. The teen’s brother urges the public to keep sharing his sister’s photo.
The family also asks the community to wear green – Thomas’ favorite color – or place green ribbons or wreaths on their homes and businesses.
The TBI releases new photos and surveillance video of both Cummins and Thomas before their disappearance.
March 21, 2017: Maury County Schools releases a timeline of its investigation into Cummins.
The TBI says Cummins researched teen marriage eight days before he and Thomas disappeared.
Authorities also said he reportedly researched his Nissan Rogue three days before Thomas was taken and the TBI said he was trying to determine if certain features could be tracked by law enforcement.
March 23, 2017: Thomas’ family releases a letter through their attorney thanking the Maury County community for their support.
March 24, 2017: A former co-worker of Cummins’ announces he is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest as AMBER Alert remains in effect.
Investigators release new details and say Cummins and Thomas were communicating through draft emails prior to their disappearance.
March 28, 2017: The TBI vows to keep doing everything it can to bring Thomas home safely. She and Cummins have been missing more than two weeks now.
The TBI director called the pair’s disappearance a “well-thought out kidnapping.”
March 29, 2017: The TBI translates AMBER Alert poster for Thomas into Spanish.
March 31, 2017: The TBI says a reported sighting of Cummins in a Memphis suburb was deemed not credible.
Cummins’ wife, Jill files for divorce, alleging irreconcilable differences have arisen and exist between her and her husband.
April 1, 2017: The TBI releases surveillance video of Thomas and Cummins inside an Oklahoma City Walmart from March 15 – two days after the pair vanished. Investigators said the two used cash to buy various food items.
Cummins appeared to have darkened his hair and Thomas may now have red hair.
April 2, 2017: Family and friends hold a vigil for Thomas.
April 3, 2017: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation determined photos shared by a police agency in Nebraska are not Thomas and Cummins.
April 4, 2017: A tip in the AMBER Alert case called in to the Maury County Sheriff’s Office from a West Nashville hotel was deemed not credible.
April 5, 2017: Thomas’ father urges his daughter to come home, “We all want you home. We all need you home.”
At this point in the investigation the TBI has received more than 1,300 tips from nearly every state in the country.
April 6, 2017: Thomas’ father filed a petition asking a judge allow him to question potential witnesses as the search for the 15-year-old and 50-year-old Cummins continues.
April 7, 2017: TBI Director Mark Gwyn said he remains optimistic that Thomas and her former teacher will be found. “I think at some point we’ll have a good outcome of this case as most of them that we do,” he said.
April 12, 2017: District Attorney Brent Cooper said Cummins left a note for his wife, Jill, on the morning of March 13, the day he and Thomas vanished. In the note Cummins indicated he had a job interview.
The DA also indicated that Cummins is on medicine to control his blood pressure and should be in need of a refill.
April 14, 2017: Cummins family speaks to ABC News and begs him to come back home.
April 20, 2017: After 38 days, Thomas and Cummins were found near a northern California commune after the TBI received a tip. Authorities said Cummins surrendered without incident and that Thomas was safe and appeared to be in good health.
Federal authorities charged Cummins with transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. Documents shed light on the actions he took prior to taking Thomas and while they were away. Click here to read them.
April 21, 2017: Cummins was placed in federal custody and held in California until his transfer to Tennessee.
It’s learned the man who found him and Thomas is a Tennessee native, Griffin Barry from Brentwood.
Thomas’ father told News 2 he believes his daughter was brainwashed.
April 23, 2017: The Northern California sheriff’s office credits its special response team with the arrest of Cummins, saying the team set up a perimeter around the cabin Cummins and Thomas were staying in and waited until they emerged to take them into custody.
Thomas’ sister spoke for the first time since the 15-year-old was taken, saying her return was very emotional, but tears of sadness have turned joyful.
April 24, 2017: Cummins appears before a judge in California who deems him a flight risk and danger to the community, ordering he remain in custody until he’s transferred to Tennessee.
Thomas’ father files a restraining order against her mother in Maury County, which was granted by a judge, and also files for divorce after being separated since November 2015 when she was accused of abusing the children.
April 25, 2017: It’s announced the Brentwood native who found the duo, Griffin Barry, will receive the $10,000 reward in the case.
Maury County Public Schools creates a task force to go through school policies and make any changes necessary in the wake of the AMBER Alert case.
April 28, 2017: Cummins’ wife Jill speaks with Inside Edition, saying he called her just days after his arrest and asked for forgiveness.
Griffin Barry is given the reward money during a ceremony held at the Maury County courthouse.
May 5, 2017: Maury County Schools announced two big changes to their policies. The first is required sexual abuse training for all Maury County Schools employees. The second change involves how complaints are handled within each school and the administration as a whole. The school system has created a new Investigations Procedure Checklist.
May 9, 2017: Cummins appears in a Tennessee courtroom for the first time where he was read his charges and a hearing was set for later that week.
May 12, 2017: Click here to read the details.Cummins appears in court again in Tennessee where an FBI agent detailed the cross-country trip he took with Thomas, outlining his plans and how he executed them.
May 18, 2017: Cummins is indicted by a federal grand jury on two charges – transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual conduct and obstruction of justice.
May 30, 2017: Cummins pleads not guilty to the federal charges against him.
June 6, 2017: The former teacher’s trial date is set to July 25, 2017.
July 13, 2017: Cummins files two motions to waive his rights to a speedy trial and ask it be continued to January 2018. His defense attorney said they want more time to “conduct additional research and investigation.”
July 14, 2017: Judge grants Cummins request to continue trial on Jan. 2, 2017.
July 28, 2017: Tad Cummins’ teaching license is revoked.