VIDEO: Tennessee 15-Year-Old and Her Teacher, 50, Spotted in Oklahoma Days After He Allegedly Kidnapped Her
Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas, the 15-year-old Tennessee teen at the center of a multi-state AMBER Alert, were spotted in Oklahoma two days after they went missing, officials announced Friday.
Cummins, 50, and Thomas were captured on surveillance footage at a Oklahoma City Wal-Mart shopping for food on March 15, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced. The pair — who are from Maury County, Tennessee— did not purchase anything else of significance.
In the newly released video and images, Thomas and Cummins’ appear to have dyed their hair. Thomas, who was originally described by officials as a blonde, has red hair while Cummins’ goatee beard and hair are darker.
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Thomas was reported missing on March 13, after she asked a friend to drop her off at a local Shoney’s. Investigators allege she was abducted by a teacher at her school, 50-year-old Tad Cummins. Thomas’ family has accused Cummins of “grooming” her.
The photos released Friday are the first photos of the pair since they were reported missing. It remains unclear whether Thomas went with Cummins willingly.
A warrant has been issued for Cummins’ arrest on charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.
He was fired from Culleoka Unit School after he was identified as the suspect in Thomas’ disappearance. Prior to that, he was suspended by the school after he allegedly was caught kissing Thomas on Jan. 23. Prosecutors also allege the pair traded “romantic” messages via his school email.
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The confirmed sighting comes less than a day after Collierville, Tennessee, officials told local media outlets the pair had been spotted driving a white van in Collierville. However, hours later, state officials announced the sighting was false.
This is not the first time officials have had to warn the public of “erroneous” reporting. Last week, the pair were rumored to be in Texas when Corpus Christi police said they responded to an alleged sighting. But a TBI spokesperson dismissed the reports, telling PEOPLE that the pair have been allegedly spotted in 49 states so far.
Authorities allege Cummins is likely keeping Thomas “off the grid,” and they urge the public to search their properties, local campgrounds, rural areas and parking garages.
The TBI asks anyone who believes they spot Cummins or Thomas to not approach them and instead keep an eye on them while calling 911.
The teen was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings. She is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 120 lbs., with and hazel eyes.
Cummins was seen driving a Silver Nissan Rogue with 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.