Tennessee girl safe, teacher arrested at California commune - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Tennessee girl safe, teacher arrested at California commune

Posted: Updated:

By SHEILA BURKE
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A 15-year-old Tennessee girl who disappeared with her teacher more than a month ago was found safe at a commune in California and the teacher was arrested, authorities said Thursday.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said 50-year-old Tad Cummins surrendered without incident in Cecilville, which is in northern California. Authorities said they found Cummins' Nissan Rogue and later located the pair. The agency said it planned a news conference for 4 p.m. EDT to release more details.

The pair's disappearance March 13 came after Cummins was investigated by the school system when another student reported seeing the then-married teacher kiss the girl at the Culleoka Unit School. Culleoka is a community about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Nashville near the Alabama state line.

"We're so happy that California police worked quickly and were able to find them and get her safe," one of the girl's sisters told The Tennessean.

"I believe the FBI are going to make sure she's healthy before she comes home," she said. "We'll make sure she'll get what therapy she needs and that she's safe, that she knows she's safe."

Police had previously issued an Amber alert for the girl and said they had warrants charging the health sciences teacher with sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping. The Associated Press is not naming the girl or her family members because she is an alleged victim of a sex crime.

Court papers filed recently in the girl's disappearance said she was afraid of the teacher and thought she would face repercussions at school if she resisted him.

A lawyer for the girl's family has said the teacher was allowed to continue working at the school for two weeks after he was reported kissing the student. Attorney Jason Whatley has said the school system must have not believed the student's report.

The school's investigative files provided to The Associated Press by the attorney show that both Cummins and the girl denied kissing. 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 Jan. 30.

The report recommended that the girl be taken out of Cummins' class and that he be reprimanded to uphold his professional responsibility. The report also recommended that the administration monitor Cummins' classroom to make sure students weren't there when they weren't supposed to be.

The teacher would later be reprimanded on Feb. 3 by school principal Penny Love after the girl was seen in Cummins classroom for a little more than half an hour that day. In her letter, Love said the girl being in his classroom was a violation of the principal's order to him.

The school system didn't suspend Cummins until Feb. 6. He was fired about a month later, a day after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an Amber Alert about the teen.

The agency said it worked tirelessly for the past five weeks, investigating more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states. Two days after the girl disappeared, surveillance images from a Walmart in Oklahoma City showed Cummins and the girl purchasing food items in the store with cash, the agency said. The statement said the images captured showed Cummins had altered his hair to appear darker and the girl's hair may have changed to red.

Last month, the teacher's wife of 31 years filed for divorce. Court records show that Jill Cummins sued her then-missing husband on the grounds of irreconcilable differences and inappropriate marital conduct. The wife, who works for the Maury County school system, said she had not seen her husband since March 13. The couple has two children together.

Siskiyou County Sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Giordano did not immediately return a call for comment.

___

Kristin Bender in San Francisco contributed to this report.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More NewsMore>>

  • Warren man involved in deadly biker gang fight pleads guilty

    Warren man involved in deadly biker gang fight pleads guilty

    Tuesday, June 20 2017 3:49 PM EDT2017-06-20 19:49:51 GMT

    James Gardner pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault, both with gun charges, obstruction of justice and falsification in court on June 20. 

    More >>

    James Gardner pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault, both with gun charges, obstruction of justice and falsification in court on June 20. 

    More >>
  • Cortland to add tax to maintain roads

    Cortland to add tax to maintain roads

    Tuesday, June 20 2017 3:47 PM EDT2017-06-20 19:47:05 GMT

    Cortland city council passed an ordinance on June 19 that will add a $5 tax to license plates. 

    More >>

    Cortland city council passed an ordinance on June 19 that will add a $5 tax to license plates. 

    More >>
  • Mercer County man charged with terroristic threats, strangulation

    Mercer County man charged with terroristic threats, strangulation

    Wednesday, June 21 2017 1:08 PM EDT2017-06-21 17:08:11 GMT

    A Mercer County man is facing charges after allegedly strangling a woman on June 12 in Fairview Twp. 

    More >>

    A Mercer County man is facing charges after allegedly strangling a woman on June 12 in Fairview Twp. 

    More >>
  • Sports ScoresMore>>

  • Scrappers beat Auburn in extra innings

    Scrappers beat Auburn in extra innings

    Friday, June 23 2017 12:04 AM EDT2017-06-23 04:04:07 GMT

    The Scrappers won for the first time at Eastwood Field this season 5-4 in 10 innings against Auburn.  Jonathan Laureno's walk off RBI double scored Oscar Gonzalez to send everyone home happy.   Auburn jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, with the first four batters reaching base. Paul Panaccione and Randy Encarnacion drove in the Doubledays runs. The Scrappers evened the scored in the bottom of the inning, Samad Taylor scored on a wild pitch, and Will Benso...

    More >>

    The Scrappers won for the first time at Eastwood Field this season 5-4 in 10 innings against Auburn.  Jonathan Laureno's walk off RBI double scored Oscar Gonzalez to send everyone home happy.   Auburn jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, with the first four batters reaching base. Paul Panaccione and Randy Encarnacion drove in the Doubledays runs. The Scrappers evened the scored in the bottom of the inning, Samad Taylor scored on a wild pitch, and Will Benso...

    More >>
  • Moldovan defends title at Mill Creek

    Moldovan defends title at Mill Creek

    Thursday, June 22 2017 11:47 PM EDT2017-06-23 03:47:54 GMT
    Maxwell Moldovan of Uniontown, Ohio defended his title at the Mill Creek Foundation Junior All Star tournament conducted by the American Junior Golf Association. Moldovan shot a 68 for a three day total of 203, finishing three strokes ahead of Aaron Du of Lake Mary, Florida. Taylor Kehoe of Strathroy, Ontario captured the girls division at 205, after shooting 67 on the final day.   Manhue Chen of China placed second, six strokes back. Brookfield's Connor Stevens finished tied...More >>
    Maxwell Moldovan of Uniontown, Ohio defended his title at the Mill Creek Foundation Junior All Star tournament conducted by the American Junior Golf Association. Moldovan shot a 68 for a three day total of 203, finishing three strokes ahead of Aaron Du of Lake Mary, Florida. Taylor Kehoe of Strathroy, Ontario captured the girls division at 205, after shooting 67 on the final day.   Manhue Chen of China placed second, six strokes back. Brookfield's Connor Stevens finished tied...More >>
  • Late rally not enough as Scrappers drop home opener

    Late rally not enough as Scrappers drop home opener

    Thursday, June 22 2017 11:39 PM EDT2017-06-23 03:39:50 GMT

    For the second straight night, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers jumped out to a second-inning lead.  

    More >>

    For the second straight night, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers jumped out to a second-inning lead.  

    More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms