Tennessee student found safe, teacher arrested in California

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Authorities from Siskiyou County found them at a commune in Cecilville early Thursday morning.

Although the license plates on the auto were removed, officials used the VIN to confirm that it was Cummins' vehicle. We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off.

"Ultimately it took a tip to see this resolution and to the public, I thank you", said Chief Deputy Ray Jeter with the Murray County Sheriff's Office.

Court papers filed recently in the teen's disappearance said she was afraid of Cummins and thought she would face repercussions at school if she resisted him. However, the two could have likely been in the area for about a week, according to Siskiyou County sheriff's Sgt. Mike Gilley.

"It appears that she is healthy and that she is not injured and this is fantastic", said Kat Thomas, the victim's sister.

A teacher from the U.S. state of Tennessee accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old student has been arrested in northern California and the girl was found safe, authorities said yesterday.

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But state law allows children older than 12 to decide whether to leave their families, unless their removal or confinement "is accomplished by force, threat or fraud".

Authorities are still in the process of reuniting Elizabeth Thomas with her family.

TBI officials say she was taken from her home in Columbia, Tennessee, March 13. Then, they vanished. Investigators now say they believe that before the pair disappeared, they sent each other romantic missives using the drafts folder of Cummins' school email account, CNN affiliate WAAY reported.

Cummins, 50, was wanted on allegations of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.

Former teacher Tad Cummins is accused of abusing his role as a teacher to groom the teenager.

"They would write the message and let it save as a draft", Cooper said.

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They have only implied the pair had sexual relations by charging Cummins with sexual contact with a minor and a federal charge of transporting a minor across state lines to have sexual intercourse. They were last spotted by a Walmart surveillance camera in Oklahoma City on March 15, two days after they disappeared from Columbia, Tenn., almost 700 miles away.

Barry said on Thursday that Cummins and Elizabeth showed up Tuesday.

Kidnapped student Elizabeth Thomas was found apparently healthy and unharmed. Employees at both properties told investigators each room had one bed.

Thomas added he hadn't had the opportunity to speak with his daughter yet but plans to talk with her sometime today.

The Tennessean reports that Kat Bozeman, Elizabeth's sister, said that the family is "ecstatic" to learn that she has been found alive.

Maury County Schools, where Cummins taught until he was sacked the day after he disappeared with Thomas, released a statement on the conclusion of the case.

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Jill Cummins had filed for divorce, saying she felt betrayed by her husband. Police investigated the area for around a week and a half, and when they were certain it was indeed Cummins, they arrested him.

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