Wife of Former Teacher Begs for Him to Return Home with Teen He Allegedly Abducted
The wife of the 50-year-old former health teacher at the center of an ongoing multi-state AMBER Alert is issuing a public plea for her husband return home and bring the teenage student he’s believe to have disappeared with back safe.
In a news conference at the Maury Country Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee on Friday, Jill Cummins directly addressed her husband Tad Cummins — whom authorities believe is with his 15-year-old former student, Mary Catherine Elizabeth Thomas.
Thomas was reported missing by her family Monday afternoon. AMBER Alerts have since been issued in both Tennessee and Alabama.
“Let me speak directly to my husband,” Jill said in her emotional statement, Fox-17 Nashville reported. “Tad, this is not you. This is not who you are. We can help you get through this. No matter how far you’ve gone or what’s happening right now, God’s grace is sufficient for you and He wants you to come home. Your family wants their Papi back. Please do the right thing, and turn yourself into the police and bring Beth home.”
A warrant has been issued for Tad’s arrest for alleged sexual contact with a minor, according to the Tennessee Bureau for Investigation. The charge stems from an earlier alleged sexual interaction between him and Thomas, which allegedly occurred on school property in Culleoka, Tennessee.
In addition to his sexual contact with a minor charges, authorities said in the news conference on Friday that they are charging Tad with aggravated kidnapping.
Jill also claimed to have no previous knowledge of Tad’s involvement in “anything that could have lead to this.”
“Like so many of you, I’m deeply troubled by what has happened in the past few days,” she said with her family pastor by her side. “I certainly can’t begin to explain why I think this occurred. But I do know one thing: I had no idea my husband was involved with anything that could have lead to this.”
“My heart breaks for the family of Beth Thomas,” Jill continued. “I want you home just as much as the rest of you, and I’m also very worried about Tad.”
She added: “To those of you in the media, thank you for helping to spread the word. Help us get this message out as far as you can, because we need help to find Tad and Beth and to bring them home safely.”
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It remains unclear at this time if Thomas was taken against her will when she went missing. But her family’s lawyer Jason Whatley previously told PEOPLE whether she went willingly or not, she is still a victim.
“This is a 15-year-old girl — and if they are together, she has been groomed by a 50-year-old authority figure, so how could we even define ‘willingly’?” Whatley said.
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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 was seen 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.
Speaking with PEOPLE on Wednesday, a family source said, “I’m very scared for [Thomas]” — 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 source said.
Anyone with information on Cummins or Thomas should call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.