Manhunt

Tennessee Amber Alert: Missing teen feared, was threatened by teacher

Missing teen Elizabeth Thomas, right, and former teacher Tad Cummins are seen at a Walmart in Oklahoma City, Okla., March 15.

Missing teen Elizabeth Thomas, right, and former teacher Tad Cummins are seen at a Walmart in Oklahoma City, Okla., March 15.  (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

A missing 15-year-old Tennessee girl was frightened of the former teacher accused of abducting her, according to court papers filed Thursday.

The petition, filed by Anthony Thomas on behalf of his daughter Elizabeth, alleges that teacher Tad Cummins, 50, had threatened his daughter with repercussions at school if she didn't go with him for a meal. The document also alleges that Elizabeth Thomas was "scared of Cummins and felt in over her head."

Thomas disappeared from her home in Columbia, Tenn. on March 13. She and Cummins were caught on surveillance cameras visiting an Oklahoma City Walmart two days later, but have not been seen since. 

Anthony Thomas' petition asks Maury County Chancery Court to allow the family's lawyer to take depositions of people with information about interactions between Thomas and Cummins, but who have been hesitant to come forward. 

The petition states that on the morning she disappeared, Elizabeth Thomas told a friend she was meeting a teenager named "Thomas" at a Shoney's restaurant, but was "having second thoughts about spending the day with him." "Thomas" is believed by authorities to be a reference to Cummins.

The petition alleges that other students at Culleoka Unit School saw Cummins make physical contact with Thomas, including rubbing her back and shoulders. One student claimed to have seen Thomas sleeping on a hospital bed in the teacher's classroom.

The petition also alleges that following an alleged kissing incident between Cummins and Thomas at the school, Cummins allegedly told Thomas her college and work career was ruined, "causing her to believe that her best option was to leave with him."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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