TBI urges community to stay vigilant in search for Elizabeth Thomas

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The nationwide Amber Alert for 15-year-old girl Elizabeth Thomas, who is from central Tennessee, remains active and ongoing. Thomas went missing March 13.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation put together a panel of lead investigators and local law enforcement agencies to update the public on the search for Elizabeth Thomas.

Investigators urged the community to stay vigilant and to call 911 immediately if they see anything that could help locate her. Investigators said the quicker they get the tip, the quicker they can respond and hopefully find Thomas.

"It only takes one tip," TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said.

DeVine and other investigators spent Tuesday emphasizing how important it is that everyone keep searching for Thomas.

TBI also updated the physical description for Thomas, who was originally reported to be about 5'5" tall, but is actually 5' tall.

Investigators believe she was abducted by former teacher, Tad Cummins.

"She's a high school freshman. He is a former teacher," TBI Director Mark Gwyn said. "This is not and was not a romance. This is manipulation, solely to benefit Tad Cummins. This is not a fairy tale. This is a case of kidnapping and we remain gravely concerned for the well being of this young girl."

TBI agents said Cummins groomed Thomas for abduction.

"This was a well thought out, planned kidnapping," Gwyn said. "This was not a stranger abduction. When you have that, it is not uncommon that they can go off the radar and it may take a while to capture that person."

Gwyn said Thomas may not realize she is a victim.

There have been more than 1,100 tips so far, but no confirmed sightings.

Cummins' wife issued a plea to her husband, begging him to come home.

Thomas' family members have also taken to the airwaves begging for her safe return.

Cummins was last seen driving a silver Nissan Rogue with TN license plate 976 ZPT.

If you see Tad Cummins or Elizabeth Thomas, you are urged to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.

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