Teacher accused of kidnapping student asks wife's forgiveness in jailhouse call

Teacher accused of kidnapping student asks wife's forgiveness in jailhouse call

The parents of kidnapped Tennessee teen Elizabeth Thomas, 15, are getting a divorce, Thomas' father says, as speculation swirls that abuse of their daughter by his wife of 30 years made his daughter vulnerable to being manipulated by Tad Cummins, 50.

For the first time since Tad Cummins was arrested in California last week, his wife Jill is speaking out.

Cummins wanted to flee Tennessee with Thomas because he was being investigated for having an inappropriate relationship with her, authorities have said.

Court documents say Kimberly Thomas beat Elizabeth and four of her siblings, and that Elizabeth told authorities her mother "banged her head into the agitator of the washing machine" and "threw her down the basement stairs and locked her down there".

Anthony Thomas called Cummins "a very poor excuse for a teacher and authority figure, a father. he's a poor excuse for a human being", reacting to an interview with Cummins' sister defending her brother's actions.

"It was very hard to hear his voice after all this time not knowing if I was going to hear it again", said Jill Cummins through tears. "I believe that. He needs to at least know that everybody's not against him". Cummins now faces one federal count of transportation of a minor across state lines for the goal of criminal sexual intercourse as well as state charges of sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping.

Cummins has been in federal custody at the Sacramento County jail since April 21, said Lauren Horwood, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of California.




Elizabeth Thomas, a student at Maury County's Culleoka Unit School where Cummins taught health science, went missing March 13.

Cummins, of Columbia, Tenn., faces state and federal charges in the girl's disappearance.

"They're wonderful, wonderful girls and their daddy would be proud of them for them stepping up and being there when he wasn't", Jill said.

Cummins and daughters, Erica and Ashlee, previously said in a statement they are "glad this chapter of the ordeal is over" and thanked all the law enforcement involved in the case. Cummins is a former Tennessee teacher. This charge carries a minimum 10 years of prison sentence and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Elizabeth was reunited with her family while Cummins was arrested. "You would need to contact the agency where the individual was housed to ask about whether jail calls there are recorded".

"I have to let the counselors work with her".

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