DECATUR, Ala. – Police believe Murray County, Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins abducted a student he’s accused of having sex with and fled town.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation told AL.com the 50-year-old teacher secured a $4,500 loan just a few days before he was terminated by the Culleoka Unit School for allegations of sex at school with 15-year-old student Elizabeth Thomas.
Cummins, who is currently wanted for the illegal sex with a minor, was last seen on surveillance video fueling up his Nissan Rouge at the Shoney’s gas station in Columbia, Tennessee around 8:30 a.m. Monday, shortly after a friend told police she dropped off Thomas at the same gas station.
— Josh DeVine (@TBIJoshDeVine) March 15, 2017
The girl’s parents reported the teen missing later in the day on Monday, and authorities issued an Amber Alert Tuesday evening, AL.com reports.
Thomas was fired from Culleoka on Tuesday.
The bulletin describes Cummins as a 200 pound white male who is about 6 feet tall with brown hair and eyes. Thomas is 5 feet 5 inches tall and about 120 pounds, and was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings, according to Decatur Daily.
Police believe the teacher is armed with two pistols and is likely driving his Rogue with the Tennessee license plate 976-ZPT. Investigators have evidence Thomas was in Decatur, Alabama around 3 p.m. on Monday, but have otherwise been unable to locate the couple.
Cummins, who headed Culleoka’s health sciences club, describes himself on Twitter as a “Jesus freak/child of The King, husband, father, grandfather, high-school teacher, clinician, drummer, audio tech, jeep owner, singer/songwriter, warrior-poet.”
His Instagram account gives the same description.
On Monday, the Instagram account featured the message: “Good morning all!! This is going to be an amazing day. Let’s do this!” according to WHNT.
Neighbors who spoke with the television station were shocked to learn about the alleged abduction and sex crimes.
“(He’s) very dedicated to his family, appeared to be very respectful, to everyone,” said Randall Scott, who has lived next door to the teacher for the last year. “He’s very academically gifted, very intelligent guy.”
“So it’s a huge surprise that he would take any kind of situation of this nature t this level,” Scott said.
Maverick James, another neighbor, said “everyone loved” Cummins, who has no previous criminal history.
“He had a good sense of humor, and you know I’ve never heard one bad thing of him at Culleoka,” he said.
“It was a surprise because he’s such an honest man,” James said. “You know we always thought he was a down to earth guy. He’s always helped my elderly grandparents over here if they needed help.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is asking anyone with information about the whereabouts of Cummins or Thomas to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.