Criminal complaint reveals timeline of Tad Cummins' escapeby Richard Bailey 21/04/2017 13:02:00 0 comments 1 Views
- The FBI's criminal complaint against Tad Cummins was released on Friday
- The 50-year-old former teacher was arrested Thursday morning at a remote cabin in northern California, where he had been hiding with a former student
- The complaint revealed a detailed timeline of Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas' month on the run, and the events leading up to it
- A 12-year-old student caught the two kissing at school on January 23
- By February 6, Cummins was officially suspended
- The two disappeared together on March 13, after meeting up at a Columbia, Tennessee restaurant
- The documents show that Cummins refilled his erectile dysfunction medication just three days before leaving and that he bought KY Jelly on the road
- Thomas' father says he believes his daughter was brainwashed
By Ashley Collman For Dailymail.com
Published: 15:48 BST, 21 April 2017 | Updated: 18:02 BST, 21 April 2017
New details are being released about Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas, the Tennessee teacher and student who were found hiding out in a remote California cabin on Thursday after more than a month on the run.
On Friday, a copy of the FBI's criminal complaint against Cummins was released, detailing the events leading up to the alleged couple's March 13 disappearance and what authorities know so far about their weeks on the lam.
The documents paint a creepy picture of the couple's relationship, from the fact that Cummins refilled his erectile dysfunction prescription just days before their departure, to their one-bed bookings at low-rent motels and trips to Walmart to buy personal lubricant.
Scroll down for full criminal complaint
More details are being released about Tad Cummins' (left) month on the run with his 15-year-old student Elizabeth Thomas, right
Cummins was arrested early Thursday morning, after police found the two hiding out in an unfinished cabin in northern California
Maury County Police first learned about the couple's illicit relationship on January 30, from the school resource officer assigned to the Culleoka Unit School.
The officer relayed that a 12-year-old student told him he or she walked into a classroom and witnessed Cummins kissing Thomas on January 23.
'The student described the kiss as a romantic peck rather than a father-daughter type kiss,' Detective Jonthan R. Hardison wrote in the complaint.
The student said that he or she went to confront Cummins with another student after school.
'The student related that Cummins rambled on and on about how much he loved his wife, but indicated that [Thomas] sometimes went to church with him and his wife and that [she] had a troubled past,' the report says.
On January 31, detectives interviewed Thomas about the allegations, and she said the two never kissed.
According to the criminal complaint, Cummins refilled his Cialis prescription days before leaving with Thomas, and that they bought KY Jelly while on the road. (Stock images)
The two were spotted shopping at a Walmart in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on March 15
She told officers that she went into Cummins classroom after getting into an altercation with another teacher about using the bathroom and that he comforted her.
Thomas 'advised that Cummins possibly held both of her hands around the wrist area and may have been close to her face at the time, telling her she needed to calm down'.
That same day, Thomas' father let officers look at his daughter's cellphone, and they saw that she had been in 'brief contact' with Cummins that day.
Officers interviewed Cummins the next day, and he too denied that they had kissed, saying that instead he was like a 'father figure' to the girl.
Cummins was allowed to keep teaching at the school while the district investigated the claims, but just two days after his interview with police, he got in trouble again for being with Thomas in a classroom.
Thomas' family appeared on Good Morning America on Friday, saying they had not yet been able to talk to her. Pictured bottom left is Elizabeth's father Anthony
Above, a map showing what authorities know so far about the couple's whereabouts during their month on the run
The morning that he left in his wife's Nissa Rogue (pictured above), Cummins left a note behind saying he was going to Virginia Beach or the DC area to 'clear his head'
MEET THE HERO CARETAKER WHO HELPED POLICE NAB CUMMINS
A northern California caretaker is speaking out to detail how he helped police arrest the Tennessee teacher who had been on the run for more than a month with his 15-year-old student.
Griffin Barry, 29, says the Cummins and Thomas first came through the area two weeks ago, looking for the Black Bear Ranch Commune, and were going by the names John and Joanna.
The couple, claiming to be 38 and 24 years old, had run out of gas and Cummins told a sad story about how they lost all of their possessions in a house fire in Colorado and didn't have any money left.
Griffin Barry, 29 (pictured), helped police arrest Tad Cummins, the 50-year-old Tennessee teacher who had been on the run for more than a month with one of his 15-year-old students
So Barry decided to be a Good Samaritan, and gave Cummins money, gas and directions to the commune.
'I put some gas in his car and gave him $40 dollars and said if it doesn’t work come back I’ll feed you you, know what I mean?' Barry, 29, told WKRN .
Cummins and Thomas did in fact make it to the commune, but the members there sensed something was off with the two and decided against letting them into the group.
After getting kicked out of the commune, Cummins and Thomas returned to Cecilville on Tuesday, and Barry offered to let them sleep in one of his unfinished cabins in exchange for work.
Barry said he rarely interacted with Thomas during the couple's 36-hour stay at the property.
'He would talk for her a lot and kept her separate, you know,' Barry told WBIR . 'And a couple of times he always kept her in the car and he would be like 'she's asleep,' you know, and I'm like okay. I was kind of telling some people , you know, she never really looks at me and she's always talking for her. I was like, whatever, they're on hard times or something."
It wasn't until Wednesday night that he finally recognized Cummins and the girl, when a neighbor showed him a missing persons picture.
'Someone was showing me a picture, I was telling them you know and said 'That's the guy,"' he said. 'So we called 911 last night and we were calling that Tennessee Bureau of Investigation line or whatever so I guess the first sheriff got out here at about 2am.'
By 4am, police had surrounded Cummins' cabin and were waiting for him to come out. After a while, they brought in Barry to help speed up the process.
'I was driving by trying to flush him out. [Sheriff's deputies] were like, "honk the horn!"' Barry told KRCR. 'I'm glad I got to help.'
As Cummins was taken into custody, he reportedly remarked 'I'm glad this is over'.
A school official called police on February 3, saying that the two had been alone in a classroom for 30 minutes, despite Cummins' orders to stay away from the girl.
Detectives reviewed surveillance footage and found that the two had indeed been in a classroom together, and that other students were present.
The school suspended Cummins on February 6 for the matter.
It's still unclear when exactly Cummins started plotting his escape with Thomas, but he did refill his Cialis prescription - a drug that treats erectile dysfunction - three days before leaving, his wife Jill revealed.
He also took out a $4,500 loan a week before his disappearance, which was supposed to help him and his wife get by while he was out of the job. His wife said that she noticed the money missing after her husband left.
THE PAIR'S FLIGHT FROM JUSTICE
January 23: Tad Cummins is spotted kissing Elizabeth Thomas, his student at Culleoka High School, by another student. He denies the claim, saying that they are friends; she is taken out of his classes
February 3: Cummins is reprimanded by the school principal after Elizabeth is found to have entered his classroom for around 30 minues
February 6: Cummins is suspended
c. March 9: He takes out a $4,500 loan on his car
March 12: Cummins buys hair dye from Walmart in Columbia, TN
March 13, 7:45am: Thomas is dropped off at Shoney's in Columbia by a friend
March 13, 8am: Cummins is seen pumping gas in Columbia
March 13, noon: Cummins and Elizabeth are seen together in Decatur, AL, around 70 miles from Columbia. He is fired from his job this same day
March 15: Cummins and Thomas are seen buying food at a Walmart. They are sporting dyed hair. This is their last sighting for more than a month
March 30: Tad Cummins' wife of 31 years, Jill, files for divorce
April 19: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is contacted by caretaker Griffin Barry, who says the paid is staying on his property in Cecilville, California
April 20: Police converge on the remote cabin, arrest Cummins and confirm that Elizabeth is safe
Police believe Cummins and Thomas met up at Shoney's Restaurant in Columbia, Tennessee the morning of March 13.
A friend reportedly picked up Thomas from her house and dropped her off at the restaurant around 8am.
Meanwhile, surveillance footage showed Cummins filling his wife's Nissan Rogue up with gas at a Shell station next to the restaurant around 8:30am. He was seen leaving the station five minutes later in the direction of Shoney's.
The morning that Cummins went missing, he lied to his wife about going to a job interview at the Williamson County Medical Center.
When she returned home, she found a note from her husband saying he was 'travelling to Virginia Beach or the D.C. area to clear his mind'.
'He said he would be back and urged his wife not to call the police,' the complaint says. 'Cummins denied doing anything wrong and asked his wife to forgive him.'
Mrs Cummins followed the letter and did not call police that night.
But Thomas' father immediately got police involved, calling to report his daughter missing around 10:30pm that night.
Mr Thomas told officers that he feared his daughter might be missing with Cummins.
The following morning, around 7:30am, Mrs Cummins finally called to report her husband missing.
She told police about the letter he left behind and the missing money. She also added that two handguns, clothes and some toiletry items were also missing from the home.
After an Amber Alert was issued for Thomas, tips started streaming into the FBI hotline.
One of the early reports came from a Motel 8 employee who found Tad Cummins' name in the national database.
Police learned that Cummins stayed at a location in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on March 15 and 16, renting a room with a single queen-sized bed.
Employees at the location said that Cummins asked for directions to a Walmart.
Police later obtained surveillance footage showing the two shopping at a Oklahoma City Walmart on March 15, in which they bought hair dye to alter their appearance.
After checking out of that Motel 8 on March 16, the couple moved west to Guymon, Oklahoma - about a five hour's drive away - where they checked into another Motel 8.
Again, they rented a room with only one bed, and stayed there for a night - checking out on March 17.
They also shopped at another Walmart, this time picking up women's razors, chocolate, cheese cubes and KY Jelly - a personal lubricant used for sex.
Police reportedly obtained surveillance footage of this March 16 trip but have not released it to the public.
Cummins was finally taken into custody on Thursday, after police received a tip from a caretaker in northern California, who said the two were staying in an unfinished cabin on his property.
The former teacher was set to appear in Siskiyou County court on Friday, but that appearance was cancelled. Instead, he has been put in federal custody and is being moved to Sacramento where a new hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Meanwhile, Thomas is reportedly being sent back to her family in Tennessee today. Her father Anthony Thomas said on Good Morning America on Friday that he had not yet spoken on the phone with his daughter, and that he believes she may have been brainwashed.