Ex-teacher who allegedly fled Tennessee with teen girl wants to change plea to guilty

Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas had been missing for over a month.

The former teacher who allegedly fled Tennessee with a teenage girl last year wants to change his plea from not guilty to guilty.

He is charged with transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual conduct and obstruction of justice.

On March 13, 2017, Cummins, then 50 and a married father and grandfather, went missing with Elizabeth Thomas, then 15 and a student at his school.

Thomas family attorney Jason Whatley said in a statement Thursday, “The Thomas family is very relieved that Mr. Cummins decided to do the right thing by pleading guilty. We see this as one more step toward justice for Elizabeth.”

Cummins, who was fired from his teaching job one day after he and Elizabeth went missing, had allegedly researched teen marriage online and specifically the age of consent, according to law enforcement officials.

Cummins plotted their getaway from the moment he was suspected of having an improper relationship with the teen, federal prosecutors allege. Prosecutors said Cummins planned to reach the Mexico border and then head to countries further south.

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