What happened to 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas? Police are still searching for the missing girl, who disappeared on March 13 from her Columbia, Tennessee home, running off with a 50-year-old man named Tad Cummins.
When 15-year-old Elizabeth initially vanished, police and her parents thought the worst. However, new leads the police discovered on her social media profiles have led them to believe she is alive and well, perhaps the innocent teenage victim of an older man.
On Elizabeth’s Instagram, the police noticed something odd in her bio. She updated and changed her personal description since her disappearance, adding the term “wife” on her profile alongside a ring emoji.
A few days before Elizabeth updated her personal description with the term “wife,” she also posted a “Beauty & the Beast” meme, something that police read as a sign indicating her romance with Cummins. Months before fleeing, the two had been seen kissing at Culleoka High School, where Elizabeth was attending school. As a result of the public display of affection, police began to investigate Cummins in January, and Elizabeth’s parents caught wind of the relationship between the two.
As a result of Elizabeth’s recent social media posts, police feel that she is not only alive but willingly on the run with Cummins. “It’s entirely likely Elizabeth doesn’t believe, at least right now, that she’s a victim,” said Josh DeVine, one of the investigators on her case.
Elizabeth is still considered a minor, and her age and knowledge are in stark contrast to that of Cummins. Though Cummins is middle-aged, police recently caught footage of him buying brown hair dye at an Oklahoma City Walmart with Elizabeth on March 31.
Cummins is a former teacher of Elizabeth’s. Because of his crime, he is now facing charges of aggravated kidnapping.
While police continue to look for Elizabeth, Cummins’ wife decided to take steps to end her 31-year marriage with him. Jill Cummins has put forth several pleas to her husband to bring the young girl home. Since Tad Cummins never responded and remains on the run with Elizabeth, Jill filed for divorce, stating that her husband is “guilty of inappropriate marital conduct.”
She cites the following in the divorce filing: “The husband or wife is guilty of such cruel and inhuman treatment or conducts towards the spouse as renders cohabitation unsafe and improper, which may also be referred to in pleadings as inappropriate marital conduct.”
Jill is also asking for lifetime alimony and repayment of attorney’s fees. She did not ask for child support, although the couple has two children together.
Michael Cox, Jill’s attorney, stated, “It’s difficult, but as we’ve said she is trying to as much as possible to move forward and move on, not an easy thing to do. And with everything that is swirling around with Tad and Elizabeth, she understandably wants to try to remain as private as possible with this process.”
In the meantime, both Jill and Elizabeth’s family are begging through local news channels that Tad Cummins return their daughter to her rightful home.