COLUMBIA, TN (WKRN) – The family of Elizabeth Thomas, the victim of an ongoing AMBER Alert out of Maury County, released a letter through their attorney on Thursday.
Thomas hasn’t been seen or heard from since Monday, March 13. She’s believed to be with her former teacher, Tad Cummins, who is charged with kidnapping in the case.
The 15-year-old’s family said the past 10 days have been the most difficult in their lives and thanked everyone throughout the country for keeping their daughter in their prayers.
“The family has been overwhelmed with the kindness shown to us by the Maury County community and beyond,” the letter reads. “We humbly ask that you continue to pray as we do our best to cope with the emotional weight of Elizabeth’s abduction.”
The Thomas family went on to thank the media, saying the continuous coverage is critical to finding Elizabeth.
“Hopefully this awareness will assist law enforcement with tips that will lead to Elizabeth,” wrote the family.
They are pleading with everyone to remain vigilant and give any information at all to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, “no matter how insignificant you might perceive it.”
The letter then addresses Maury County Schools, saying the teachers and administrators are the core of their community, “the backbone” of the county.
“It is important to the Thomas family to emphasize that none of the reports about possible mistakes made regarding to Tad Cummins prior to Elizabeth’s disappearance are relevant to what we are doing now,” the family states.
“Our focus should be on finding Elizabeth. Period. To do that, we need as much information as possible, including from the school system,” the letter continued.
“Whatever questions about how issues were handled when Elizabeth was in school are distant and secondary and, in many ways, distracting to the core issue of finding her.”
“Facts about prior events, especially interaction between Elizabeth and Tad Cummins and statements made by both parties, may very well contain clues to lead to Elizabeth’s return,” the letter says.The family says it is desperate for any information that might lead to the 15-year-old’s whereabouts, noting they also need information about Elizabeth from before she vanished.
Also on Thursday, the Tennessee Highway Patrol said they have been scanning traffic and parking lots to find Cummins’ vehicle, a silver Nissan Rogue with TN plates 976-ZPT.
A possible sighting was called in Wednesday night, prompting THP to use a helicopter in a search, but it was proven not to be Cummins’ car.
Neither he nor Thomas have been seen or heard from since they disappeared. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says they’ve received around 700 tips—none of which have provided any credible sightings or information.
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 white male, who stands 6 feet tall, weighs approximately 200 pounds, and has brown hair and eyes. He’s believed to be armed with two handguns.
He faces kidnapping in the AMBER Alert case and is also charged with sexual contact with a minor after he allegedly kissed Thomas at school earlier this year.
Last week, the TBI added Cummins to the state’s ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his capture. The TBI would urge the public to remain vigilant and report any information that may prove beneficial in the ongoing search to 1-800-TBI-FIND.