NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released new photos and surveillance video Monday of both Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas.
Cummins, 50, is charged with kidnapping Thomas, 15, who has not been seen since last Monday, March 13.
He is a former teacher at her school in Columbia, Tennessee, and was fired just last week amid an ongoing investigation he had sexual contact with the 15-year-old earlier this year.
An AMBER Alert remains ongoing as the TBI works to find Thomas. The bureau has said it is “extremely concerned” for her and described the situation as dire.
Her family has pleaded for her safe return and urged the public to keep sharing her photo.
To date, about 450 tips have poured in to the TBI, but they have produced no credible sightings or information on their whereabouts, leading authorities to believe Cummins could have Thomas hidden from the general public or far away from Tennessee.
Officials say Cummins and Thomas could be anywhere, and they are asking for nationwide vigilance.
Spokesman Josh DeVine visited WAVY sister station WKRN on Monday to answer some questions, saying they have “imminent concern for this child’s well-being. We want her home.”
“Information on these two has dried up for about a week now,” DeVine said. “We honestly don’t know where they are, what they might look like… a whole host of things could be possibilities right now.”
When asked how unusual this is for a 50-year-old man to have such an impact on a 15-year-old girl, the TBI spokesman said, “That’s the thing. This can happen in any of our communities.”
“We want people to remember she’s a high school freshman. He was a teacher at her school. This is a very serious situation,” DeVine added.
Thomas is a 15-year-old white female, with hazel eyes, stands 5 feet tall and weighs 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings.
Cummins is a 6-foot-tall white man who weighs around 200 pounds. He has brown hair and eyes, and he’s believe to be armed with two handguns.
It’s believed he is driving a silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee tag 976-ZPT.
Cummins is currently on the state’s Top 10 Most Wanted list. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his capture.
The TBI is encouraging property owners, especially in rural areas, to search their grounds for them, their vehicle, or any sign of suspicious activity and call 1-800-TBI-FIND to report any information.
Officials say large parking lots and garages should also be searched for the vehicle. If you spot the vehicle and can verify the license plate to be TN 976-ZPT, call 911 immediately.