Judge rules accused Tennessee kidnapper must remain in custody

A Tennessee judge said Friday the former school teacher accused of kidnapping a teenager before fleeing to California must remain in custody.

The ruling came after a preliminary hearing in Nashville, according to a clerk at the U.S. District Court.

Court documents show prosecutors filed a motion for detention on May 9, arguing that Tad Eric Cummins, 50, is a flight risk.

“The evidence supporting Defendant’s risk of flight and danger to the community is overwhelming,” the motion said.

The document stated that Cummins abused his position as a teacher, exploited a student’s vulnerability, transported the 15-year old girl across state liness for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts, and engaged in sexual activities in numerous locations with the minor over a 30-day period.

He faces a state charge of aggravated kidnapping, sexual contact with a minor, and one federal charge of transporting a minor across state lines for sex.

On January 20, a Culleoka Unit School resource officer contacted the local sheriff’s department with reports of an indecent relationship between a student and teacher, according to a criminal complaint filed by a Task Force officer with the FBI.

Officer Jonathan Hardison stated after numerous reports of inappropriate behavior between Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas, 15, the two met at a Columbia restaurant on March 13 - and then vanished, leading to a 38-day nationwide manhunt.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation an AMBER alert was issued the following day.

“On March 17th, the TBI added the 50-year-old to the state’s ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list,” the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation site states.

On April 20, Siskiyou County authorities found the former health science teacher hiding in a remotely located cabin with the girl.