A 15-year-old Tennessee girl was rescued near a cabin in a remote part of northern California on Thursday, more than a month after her 50-year-old teacher kidnapped her and set off a nationwide manhunt, authorities said.
The cabin, authorities said, was a small, one-room building, and Cummins and Elizabeth appeared to have been sleeping on a foam mattress on the ground, the Siskiyou Daily News reported.
The school's investigative files provided to The Associated Press by the attorney show that both Cummins and the girl denied kissing.
April 20 - Cummins and Thomas found in Cecilville, California.
Barry said Cummins was broke, out of gas and looking for a commune in the area.
Tuesday, March 14: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an Amber Alert for Thomas and Cummins.
S. Jason Whatley, the Thomas family attorney released a statement on Friday, saying the teen is comfortable and resting and is now being treated by mental health experts.
O'Hare said when the neighbor realized it was Cummins and Elizabeth, he alerted the caretaker.
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He said the family planned to offer Elizabeth therapy, and understood that she would need time to recover. He faces charges of sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping. The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office also received a similar tip from the same individual around the same time, the sheriff's office said.
Yesterday, he said, Cummins and Elizabeth helped him fish rocks out of the creek.
After the capture, one federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for the objective of having criminal sexual intercourse was filed against Cummins. Snipers surrounded the cabin as Cummins exited the cabin and was taken into custody.
Before leaving with the girl, Cummins had been suspended from teaching and police were zeroing in on him, questioning his relationship with Thomas. Siskiyou County deputies searched the area and found a silver Nissan Rogue parked outside the cabin, TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said. Cummins was Elizabeth's high school teacher at Culleoka Unit School in Maury County, Tenn. On March 16, Cummins bought women's razors, chocolate, cheese cubes and KY Jelly, according to the affadavit. "We've got to get her the help she needs", Anthony stated.
"There aren't words in the English language to describe the level of relief and elation experienced by the Thomas family", said Whatley.
They originally sought sanctuary in the Black Bear Ranch in Northern California, a commune whose slogan is "free land for free people", but they were rejected. "Someone showed me a picture and I was like that is definitely the guy and called 911 last night".
"It really strengthens the federal charge, because they have to prove when they left the state or he crossed state lines that he had the intent to have sex with her", said Cooper. Thanks go to all who have kept the message of finding Elizabeth Thomas and working on her safe return as top-of-mind throughout the nation.