MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. (NBC News) — Investigators put out an urgent call Sunday for help finding Tennessee high school freshman Elizabeth Thomas, who disappeared along with an armed former teacher a week ago, according to authorities who said they were deeply concerned “about his intentions for her.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Tad Cummins, 50, had possibly planned the kidnapping on March 13 of Elizabeth, 15, who attends Culleoka Unit School in Maury County, near the Alabama border.
The TBI has added Cummins, who has been charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor, to its list of most wanted fugitives. It warned Sunday that he is believed to be armed with two handguns and should be considered dangerous.
Authorities said there had been no credible sightings of Elizabeth or of Cummins since Monday, when she was seen in Decatur, Alabama — the same day that grim posts appeared on her and Cummins’ social media accounts, NBC affiliate WSMV of Nashville, Tennessee, reported.
Cummins’ wife, Jill, pleaded with him to return Elizabeth safely.
“Tad, this is not you,” Jill Cummins told reporters Saturday. “This is not who you are. We can help you get through this.”
“Please do the right thing,” she added. “Bring Elizabeth back home.”
The bureau said it had received only 250 tips from 24 states, leading investigators to cast a wider net in their search.
“Having now been on the run for more than five days, Cummins may have taken her, frankly, anywhere,” the TBI said Sunday.
It added: “Nothing investigators have learned about Cummins or his intentions for the young girl … calms the imminent concern for Elizabeth’s well-being. In fact, it only heightens it.”
Elizabeth is described as 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighing 120 pounds, with hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings, investigators said.
Cummins is 6-0 and about 200 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. He is believed to be driving a silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee tags.