The parents of a 15-year-old girl who vanished almost two weeks ago have released a video of their daughter in the hopes that someone will recognize her and call police.
Authorities said Tennessee high school student Elizabeth Thomas was allegedly kidnapped by former teacher Tad Cummins, 50, who also disappeared when the teen went missing from a restaurant in Columbia on March 13. Since then, the teen’s appearance may have been changed.
The video provided by the family to WCN shows Elizabeth giving her brother instructions on how to sew a Confederate flag. Though her face is only seen in profile, her voice can clearly be heard in the clip.
“Please share this video in hopes that someone recognizes her voice,” said a family statement included with the video. “Appearances can be altered but voices are indistinguishable.”
Cummins had an unusual relationship with Elizabeth, and students reported seeing the two of them kissing, authorities said. Cummins was recently suspended from the Culleoka Unit School south of Nashville amid concerns about “inappropriate behavior” with the student, officials said.
Cummins, who is believed to be armed, was researching teen marriage before he disappeared, and investigators said he may have been planning to kidnap Elizabeth for some time. He also obtained a $4,500 loan shortly before he took off, officials said.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Cummins has already been charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. The agency also added him to its Top 10 Most Wanted list.
Cummins’ wife, Jill, issued a second plea to her husband on Sunday, urging him to turn himself in.
“You know you can’t hide forever,” she said via NBC News. “For your sake and for Beth’s sake, please go to the police or please just drop Beth off somewhere safe.”
In a message to Cummins at a press conference last week, TBI spokesman Josh DeVine urged him to “do the right thing. Give her up, turn yourself in, bring her home.”