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AMBER Alert: Teen Girl Suspected to Be with 50-Year-Old ‘Armed and Dangerous’ Ex-Teacher in Tennessee

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From left: Mary Catherine Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

An AMBER Alert has been issued for a Tennessee teen who was last seen Monday and is believed to be with her 50-year-old former teacher, PEOPLE confirms.

Mary Catherine Elizabeth Thomas, 15, was reported missing Monday, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman Josh DeVine tells PEOPLE.

The Columbia, Tennessee, teen is believed to be with Tad Cummins, who is allegedly armed and dangerous with at least two weapons, DeVine says.

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Authorities are not sure whether Thomas was taken against her will, but investigators believe she is in imminent danger.

Cummins was a teacher at Culleoka Unit School, which Thomas attended, DeVine says.

According to DeVine, Cummins has since been dismissed.

A warrant has been issued for Cummins’ arrest for alleged sexual contact with a minor, according to a TBI news release. The charge stems from an earlier alleged sexual interaction on school property.

“Maury County Public Schools suspended the Culleoka Unit School teacher involved in the law enforcement investigation once we were notified of the allegations,” according to a statement from the school district obtained by WKRN.

“Since then, the teacher has been dismissed as a result of the investigation. The district does not tolerate any manner of behavior that is alleged in this incident and will take swift action to remove parties from school campuses who are involved with investigations of this type.”

Mary Catherine Elizabeth Thomas
Courtesy TBI

On Monday afternoon at about 3 p.m. local time, the pair were in Decatur, Alabama, the TBI press release states.

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Thomas was last seen Monday morning after being dropped off at a local restaurant by a friend, a TBI news release states. She was reported missing by her family later that afternoon.

Speaking with PEOPLE on Wednesday, a family source says, “I’m very scared for her,” adding, “It’ so hard to understand what would bring someone to do these kinds of things.”

“I don’t understand how this is real life,” the family source adds.

Thomas was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings. She is 5 feet 5 inches inches tall and weighs 120 lbs., with blonde hair and hazel eyes.

Cummins is driving a Silver Nissan Rogue with a Tennessee license plate 976ZPT, according to the TBI. He is 6 feet tall and weighs 200 lbs., with brown hair and eyes.

Anyone with information on Cummins or Thomas should call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.