Published: Sun, April 30, 2017
National | By Miranda Cannon

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

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

Tad Cummins is accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old student for five weeks, taking her from Middle Tennessee to California, where they stayed in a commune and then a cabin.

"I had given him [Tad Cummins] food and she was like, 'Thank you.'".

"Two times down there I saw them kissing on a quick break", Barry tells PEOPLE.

Anthony Thomas' divorce lawyer, Cory Ricci, said this week a Maury County judge granted a restraining order that prevents Kimberly Thomas from speaking publicly about the case or her daughter's disappearance, even through a third party.

In an interview with Inside Edition, Jill Cummins said that Tad called her from jail days after he was taken into custody. He still tried to come out of the auto and meet me and keep her away but she came out and I was about 20 feet way and she was like, 'Thank you.'.

He called it "amazingly absurd" to say Elizabeth was to blame for willingly joining former teacher Tad Cummins on their 2,000-mile journey from Columbia, Tenn., to an isolated shack with no running water, heat or electricity in Cecilville, Calif.

"It was nearly with an accent", he says about how she pronounced her name.

"I said, 'Well, did you sleep with her?' And he said, 'Yes, I did.' And I didn't want any details but I knew the truth". They'll just think I'm guilty and I'm not.

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Cummins is in a California jail awaiting transfer to Tennessee.

Authorities said the mother physically abused several of her children for about a year, beginning in November 2014.

Cummins is under arrest in California after being on the run with 15-year-old Elizabeth for over a month.

Among other charges, Cummins faces one federal count of transporting a minor across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity.

Griffin may also be eligible for a $1,000 reward from the TBI for his tip, because Cummins was on the TBI's Ten Most Wanted list. The charge carries a minimum of prison term of 10 years and a maximum of life. Her family said the teen was having panic attacks and appeared to be jittery. In an interview with Inside Edition, Barry said that he initially did not recognize the two, but when he did, he called the police to report the sighting.

"If a person was looking for a teenager that could be easily influenced and easily convinced to do something they shouldn't do, I would say that she would be one that would attract that kind of person", he said.

School records showed the girl often relied on Cummins "like a friend and a counsellor" when she became upset or anxious at school.

Tad Cummins is behind bars in California after leading law enforcement on a month-long cross-country journey through nine states before being captured in a remote cabin in California.

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