SISKIYOU COUNTY (CBS SF) – A Tennessee high school teacher who allegedly kidnapped a teenage student more than a month ago was arrested in Northern California and the girl has been recovered safely.
Authorities said Thursday that 50-year-old Tad Cummins and the 15-year-old girl were found in the remote Siskiyou County community of Cecilville, about 120 miles northwest of Redding.
Mark Gwyn of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said they received a tip late Wednesday night and notified Siskiyou County authorities. On Thursday morning, authorities located Cummins’ Nissan Rogue SUV and the suspect surrendered without incident.
Efforts to reunite the girl with her family were ongoing, authorities said.
“Our Intelligence Analysts and Agents have worked tirelessly since issuing this AMBER Alert to process more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states,” Gwyn said at a Thursday afternoon news conference in Nashville. “What happened in California this morning, however, proves it only takes one person to lead to a successful end.”
Before they were located by authorities, the last confirmed sighting of Cummins and the teen was on surveillance video at a Walmart in Oklahoma City on March 15th.
Authorities said Cummins kidnapped Thomas on March 13th from the city of Columbia, about 45 miles south of Nashville.
Cummins, a teacher at Culleoka Unit School, was recently suspended for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with the teen. In January, a student reported that Cummins kissed her in his classroom.
Cummins was fired from the school on March 14, a day after they went missing.
According to Nashville CBS affiliate WTVF, an investigation of his online activities in the days before the kidnapping revealed Cummins researched about his vehicle to see if certain features could be tracked by law enforcement. He also allegedly searched on the topic of teen marriage.
Cummins faces multiple federal and state charges, including transporting a minor across state lines for the purposes of sexual intercourse, sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping.
He remains in custody of Siskiyou County authorities without bond Thursday afternoon.
Tim Fang is a digital producer for CBS San Francisco and a native of the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @fangtj.