Police in Tennessee and Alabama are searching for a missing teen believed to be with a likely armed and dangerous 50-year-old teacher.
Taken by her teacher:
Mary Catherine (Elizabeth) Thomas, 15, was reported missing by her parents Monday afternoon, they haven’t seen her after dropping her off at a Shoney’s in Columbia with a friend around 8 a.m.
A day later, a statewide Amber Alert was issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, quickly followed by one issued by Alabama law enforcement. Since the Amber Alert was issued, authorities have received 80 leads, though none have brought them to Thomas.
Police believe the teen is with her former teacher 50-year-old Tad Cummins, who is facing charges in connection with an alleged sexual interaction with Thomas, who was a student at the school where he taught.
As soon as Maury County Public Schools learned of the allegations, it suspended the teacher, according to a statement.
Cummins had worked at the Culleoka Unit School as a health science teacher since 2011, he was officially fired on Tuesday.
Cummins was seen filling up his Nissan Rogue with gas in a surveillance video released late Wednesday night, he then picked up Thomas at the Shoney’s.
Armed and dangerous:
Detectives placed the pair in Decatur, Ala. on Monday afternoon. Neither have an apparent connection to the area. Police warned that Cummins is likely armed with two handguns. At this stage, detectives are not sure whether Thomas was taken against her will, though they do believe she is in extreme danger.
Through a spokesperson, Thomas’ family begged anyone with information on their daughter to speak to authorities.
Jason Whatley, the family spokesman said “At this point the young lady is under the spell, at least we presume, of another person. We are concerned she is in a very unsafe situation. There’s no way to describe the emotion and frankly the fear the family has at this point. They’re desperate for information that leads to the whereabouts of this child.”
Thomas is 5-foot-5 and weighs about 120 pounds, with blonde hair and hazel eyes, she was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings.
While Cummins is 6 feet tall and 200 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.
He was last seen driving a silver Nissan Rogue with a Tennessee license plate 976ZPT. Anyone with information is asked to call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.