CRIME

Father of missing Tennessee teen found safe says she was brainwashed

Former teacher Tad Cummins arrested

 

The father of the Tennessee girl found safe after being kidnapped by her teacher said Friday that he thinks that his daughter was brainwashed.

Anthony Thomas told Good Morning America his 15-year-old daughter is going to need therapy after her ordeal. He said her family will be patient with her and get her the help she needs.

Elizabeth Thomas’s disappearance a month ago sparked a nationwide Amber Alert. A tipster led them to the girl and health teacher Tad Cummins Thursday. They were found in a remote cabin in Northern California.

TENNESSEE AMBER ALERT OVER: TIP LEADS AUTHORITIES TO TAD CUMMINS, ELIZABETH THOMAS IN CALIFORNIA

Cummins, 50, faces state charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor as well as a federal charge of taking a minor across state lines to have sex. His arraignment in Sacramento was scheduled for Monday.

Fox 17 Nashville reports that the tipster was a Nashville man living in California.

TENNESSEE AMBER ALERT: DA WILLING TO JEOPARDIZE
CRIMINAL CASE TO BRING TEEN HOME

Griffin Barry, 29, had befriended Cummins and the girl, who were staying in a cabin in Cecilville, a rural hamlet in the mountains with no cell phone service.

Barry told The Redding Record Searchlight that Cummins told him he was looking for work when they met.

“He said they were from California, had a house fire, lost everything,” Barry told the paper.

He said Cummins wouldn’t let the girl talk.

“He always kept her away; talked for her a lot,” Barry said.

He called the cops when someone showed him a photo of Cummins.

“That is the the guy,” Barry told the paper.

Cummins and Thomas disappeared on March 13, sparking a cross-country manhunt made all the more difficult as Cummins apparently changed his appearance, and may have switched out the license plate on the vehicle he was driving, according to reports. Court papers filed recently in the girl's disappearance showed she was afraid of the teacher, and thought she would face repercussions at school if she resisted him.

Investigators were flooded with over 1,500 tips from the public as the case gained national attention.

Cummins was fired from his job at Elizabeth’s school amid an investigation into alleged inappropriate contact with Thomas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.