AMBER ALERT ENDS: Suspect arrested, teen found safe in CA

Published: Apr. 20, 2017 at 4:48 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2017 at 6:35 AM CDT
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(WAFF) - Tad Cummins, the man at the center of a nationwide Amber Alert, has been arrested, and Elizabeth Thomas, the teen he is accused of kidnapping, has been safely recovered, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Thomas and Cummins were found living in a cabin in a rural area in the north California town of Cecilville. A TBI spokesman said they and California authorities acted on a citizen tip that the pair had taken up residence there about a week ago. Agents then found the vehicle described in the Amber Alert and confirmed it belonged to Cummins.

The pair surrendered without incident.

Officials said Cummins, 50, kidnapped Thomas, 15, on March 13 from Maury County, Tennessee.

TBI is working with federal authorities to charge Cummins with kidnapping and illegally taking a juvenile across state lines. Additional charges may be announced later.

Cummins is being held by the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office without bond. He is awaiting extradition to Tennessee, where he will be charged with sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping.

TBI Director Mark Gwyn said the agency received more than 1,500 leads during the search, reaching all 50 states.

"What happened in California this morning, however, proves it only takes one person to lead to a successful end. We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off. We're also grateful for the public's support and vigilance throughout this search effort," said Gwyn in a news release.

Cummins is a former teacher from Thomas' school. TBI said he groomed Thomas to be his victim. He's also accused of having inappropriate contact with her at school before the kidnapping.

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