Elizabeth Thomas family attorney says teen is safe; ‘This was the abduction of an impressionable, little child’

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Mary Catherine Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – The 15-year-old girl who was abducted and missing for more than a month with her former teacher is safe at home.

S. Jason Whatley, the Thomas family attorney released a statement on Friday, saying the teen is comfortable and resting and is currently being treated by mental health experts.

Thomas was kidnapped by her former teacher, 50-year-old Tad Cummins and the two fled from their small town of Culleoka, Tennessee, on March 13.

They disappeared a few weeks after a student reported seeing Cummins and Elizabeth kissing in a classroom.

A call to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation tip line led to a remote cabin in northern California where the Nissan Rogue at the center of the search was parked outside and the two inside.

After the capture, one federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for the purpose of having criminal sexual intercourse was filed against Cummins.

The Thomas family attorney’s entire statement is as follows:

“Elizabeth Thomas is in a safe location with family and friends where she is comfortable and resting.

She is being evaluated and treated by mental health experts specializing in trauma. There is no doubt that she has suffered severe emotional trauma and that her process of recovery is only just beginning.

The family is extremely grateful for the thoughts and prayers of the nation and asks sincerely for those continued prayers as Elizabeth becomes able to process the last 39 days. The family asks for privacy as this journey begins.

On a personal note, I met Elizabeth for the first time. I was taken aback by who she is. Elizabeth is a little child. She could easily pass for 12. The primary photo used and reprinted so many times by law enforcement, the media, and even our office, is inaccurate. She is a little girl in every sense of the word. This was the abduction of an impressionable, little child.”

S. Jason Whatley, Attorney