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A 15-Year-Old Who Was Kidnapped By Her Teacher Was Found Safe 39 Days Later

Elizabeth Thomas, a 15-year-old student who was kidnapped in her hometown in Tennessee on March 13, was found safe and unharmed in California last Thursday, ABC News reports.

Former Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins was arrested in northern California after more than a month on the run. Around 11 p.m. Wednesday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation received a call about a possible sighting of the student and teacher, ABC News reported.

According to CNN, the former teacher will appear in court today, facing federal and state charges.

Griffin Barry, the man who says he eventually helped police capture Cummins, told KRCR that they’d been hiding in the heavily wooded area south of the Oregon line since at least last week.

“He was saying he was from Colorado. He said he had a house fire and he got fired from his job, and he has his last $10 or whatever,” Barry told KRCR. “I gave him $40 and put gas in his tank.” Cummins told Barry that the teen was his 22-year-old-wife, KRCR reported. Barry said Thomas didn’t talk much and it appeared that Cummins “keeping her separate.”

Authorities received more than 1,500 leads across the country in the search for Thomas, director Mark Gwyn told ABC News.

“It only takes one tip,” Gwyn told ABC News. “This is yet another example of the value of the public helping us to rescue a kidnapping victim.”

Thomas boarded a private jet bound for Tennessee to be reunited with her family Friday. It is incredibly fortunate that she was found safe and unharmed, and now can be returned to her home.

Casey is a college student studying Journalism and Strategic Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enjoys chocolate, horror movies, Netflix binge-watching, and sharing college advice on her blog www.caseydonart.com.
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