NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A 15-year-old Tennessee girl who disappeared with her teacher more than a month ago was found safe in California and the teacher was arrested, authorities said Thursday.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said 50-year-old Tad Cummins had been taken into custody and that the girl was found in Siskiyou County in northern California.
The pair’s disappearance March 13 came after Cummins was investigated by the school system when another student reported seeing the then-married teacher kiss the girl at the Culleoka Unit School.
Culleoka is a community about 60 miles south of Nashville near the Alabama state line.
On March 15, surveillance images from a Walmart in Oklahoma City showed Cummins and the girl purchasing food items in the store with cash, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said. The statement said the images captured showed Cummins had altered his hair to appear darker and the girl may have changed her hair color to red.
Police had previously issued an Amber alert for the girl and said they had warrants charging the health sciences teacher with sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping.
Court papers filed recently in the girl’s disappearance said she was afraid of the teacher and thought she would face repercussions at school if she resisted him.
A lawyer for the girl’s family has said the teacher was allowed to continue working at the school for two weeks after he was reported kissing the student.