Authorities believe the teacher groomed Elizabeth for almost a year. He called the police.
It came from a caller who told investigators that Cummins and the teen, the subject of an Amber Alert, might be living in a mountain cabin near Cecilville, Calif., a onetime mining town about 100 miles south of the OR border.
Tad Cummins surrendered to police Thursday morning without incident as he exited the cabin, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department.
And then, at daybreak Thursday, the authorities captured Cummins and rescued the teen. Whatley said mental health experts specializing in trauma are evaluating and treating the 15-year-old. The glass or the beer?
Elizabeth's father told ABC News that the family to "just keep things positive" in their interactions with her at this stage.
Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon E. Lopey tells the Associated Press that she did not exhibit any anger toward her teacher.
Cummins and Thomas went under the names John and Joanna while at the commune, with their ages being 44 and 24, respectively. "She may not be exactly. the person she was because there's a lot of experiences she's had".
Tad Cummins, 50, a former Tennessee teacher is accused of kidnapping Thomas.
"I said, 'That's the guy, '" Barry said.
The AP is not naming the girl or her family members because she is an alleged victim of a sex crime.
Inside the cabin, they found a single sleeping pad, clothing and two loaded guns, authorities said.
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Cummins was charged with one federal count of transportation of a minor across state lines for the objective of criminal sexual intercourse, said Jack Smith, acting USA attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. Authorities said a 15-year-old Tennessee girl who disappeared with Cummins, who was her teacher, last month has been found safe in California and the teacher has been arrested.
He will also face state charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. "She's probably going to be hungry".
"Finally she's in safe hands", Thomas' childhood friend, Caleb Banks, told CBS News. He promises to return and asks her not to contact police.
The saga began in March, after Cummins handed over the title of his SUV, put up some other personal effects and walked out of a loan office with $4,500 in cash.
During the five weeks the teacher and student were missing, residents tied green ribbons on trees back in Culleoka, Tennessee.
"Well, right now ... in ways she's like herself and in ways she's not", her brother said.
He said he offered Cummins work - moving rocks - and a place to stay: a small cabin for which Barry was the caretaker.
"Investigative efforts have revealed a troubling pattern of behavior by Tad Cummins, suggesting the 50-year-old may have been abusing his role as a teacher to groom this vulnerable young girl for some time in an effort to lure and potentially sexually exploit her", the agency said in a statewide Amber Alert issued the day after the girl disappeared. The teacher, however, acknowledged that the girl was "a really good friend and she does leave her other classes to come see him when she needs someone to calm her down", according to a school report dated January 30.
Authorities have surveillance video from a Walmart in Oklahoma City from March 15 showing the pair, and images of Cummins purchasing women's razors, chocolates and a "commonly used lubricant for sexual intercourse", according to the criminal complaint. She didn't say much, but you got the impression he was more like a doting father, rather than a dominant force.
Investigators said they think Cummins manipulated the girl into leaving with him.