Revelations from Inside the Case Against Tad Cummins, Accused of Abducting Student Elizabeth Thomas
The day Tad Cummins vanished with Elizabeth Thomas, he wrote a letter to his wife claiming he was traveling from Tennessee to Washington D.C. “to clear his head” — and urging her not to call police.
The day after his arrest in Northern California, new details are emerging about Cummins, 50, and how he evaded law enforcement during a nationwide manhunt that lasted more than five weeks after allegedly kidnapping Thomas, his 15-year-old student.
A criminal complaint filed by federal authorities and obtained by PEOPLE alleges Cummins borrowed $4,500 in cash from an unspecified source just days before going on the lam, telling his wife they needed the money to get them through his work suspension.
Cummins was fired from his job at Culleoka Unit School after he was named as the suspect in Thomas’ disappearance. Prior to that, he was suspended without pay after being accused of kissing Thomas inside his classroom earlier this year.
Cummins’ wife called police the day after he fled the area, and informed them the $4,500 he’d been loaned was missing along with a pair of handguns, clothing and toiletries, the criminal complaint alleges.
“During the course of the investigation, detectives learned from Cummins’ wife that Cummins was prescribed Cialis,” a medication used to treat male impotence, reads the criminal complaint. Police soon learned “he had obtained a refill of approximately seven pills days prior to leaving town.”
On March 29, investigators received a tip from an employee of Super 8 Motels, who had performed a search of the chain’s database and discovered Cummins had stayed at a Super 8 location in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on March 15 and March 16.
Cummins had provided the hotel with his Tennessee address as well as his phone number, which authorities confirmed was registered in his name.
Detectives learned from hotel employees that Cummins had rented “a room with a single queen-size bed” and that he had asked for directions to the nearest Wal-Mart.
On March 30, the criminal complaint alleges Cummins had traveled to the Wal-Mart in Oklahoma City, but authorities were unable to determine what purchases he had made.
The criminal complaint alleges investigators learned he had been to another Wal-Mart location on March 16. While at the Guymon, Oklahoma, store, Cummins “purchased several items, including women’s razors, chocolate, cheese cubes, and KY Jelly, a commonly used lubricant for sexual intercourse.”
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Cummins used cash to pay for his items, according to the complaint.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Cummins remains in the custody of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department without bond while he awaits extradition to Tennessee to face charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.
Cummins will be arraigned in California on Friday.
Prior to his capture, Tennessee authorities issued a warrant for Cummins’ arrest on charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor — the latter charge stemming from the alleged January kissing incident.
He also faces charges in California for alleged possession of stolen property and kidnapping, according to ABC News.
The U.S. State Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee filed a federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines with intent of having criminal sexual intercourse against Cummins, according to Jack Smith, Acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
RELATED VIDEO: Sister of Missing Tennessee Teen Reacts as She’s Found Safely
It could take several weeks for Cummins to be extradited to Tennessee, according to officials.
Thomas is being flown back to Tennessee to be reunited with her family.
The TBI’s investigation has allegedly “revealed a troubling pattern of behavior” by Cummins, suggesting that he was allegedly abusing his role as a teacher to groom Thomas to try to “lure and potentially sexually exploit her.”
Her family’s lawyer, Jason Whatley, has said he is preparing to file a civil suit against Cummins for abducting the teen.
Earlier this month, Cummins’ wife Jill filed for divorce.
According to court documents obtained by WHNT, Jill Cummins’ divorce complaint cites irreconcilable differences and alleges that Tad Cummins is guilty of inappropriate marital conduct.
During a previous interview with ABC News, Jill Cummins said of her husband, “Of course I love him. I forgive him and I still love him.”
She added, “But it doesn’t mean I could ever trust him again. Because he betrayed my trust to a point that that’s totally broken.”
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