CRIME

Tennessee Amber Alert: Kidnapped teen back with family, lawyers say

Teen girl returned to her family after abducted by former teacher

 

Attorneys for Elizabeth Thomas, who allegedly was kidnapped in Tennessee last month, say she is "comfortable and resting" in a safe location with family and friends.

The 15-year-old was rescued by police in a remote area of California on Thursday after a man from Nashville befriended the girl and her former high school teacher before calling police.

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Attorney S. Jason Whatley in a statement says Thomas is being evaluated and treated by mental health experts specializing in trauma. The family says they are grateful for the thoughts and prayers of the nation and ask for continued prayers as Thomas "becomes able to process the last 39 days."

The family is also asking for privacy to focus on Thomas' healing.

Whatley also added a personal note, saying he was "taken aback" that Thomas is a "little child" after meeting her for the first time. "She could easily pass for 12," Whatley says. "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."

As Thomas begins her road to recovery Tad Cummins will be arraigned on Monday in a Sacramento, California court on federal charges of transporting a minor across state lines. He will also face state charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.

The Cummins family issued a statement of their own on Friday, sharing their hope for Thomas' recovery. The family also stated they had no "comment nor opinion" on what should or should not happen" to Cummins.

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