Update on the Rescue of Kidnap Victim, Elizabeth Thomas

By Janice Barlow

The capture of Tad Cummins, the ex-teacher who kidnapped his 15-year-old student, Elizabeth Thomas, in Tennessee on March 13th, and led law enforcement on a cross country goose chase, has merely opened the door to many questions. What happened to her between that time and her capture on Thursday? More will come out on that in the days ahead, if Elizabeth decides to talk.

Griffin Barry is responsible for the arrest and rescue. Barry owns a property with a gas station in Cecilville, in remote northern California. The pair were looking for shelter and food, as well as gas for their vehicle. Cummins asked Barry if he had any place for them to stay.

Barry let them stay in a primitive cabin there, with no water, electricity, or cellphone service. They stayed two nights. Barry’s home is also on the property. He felt sorry for them and gave them $40 in cash as well.

Barry told ABC News that Cummins had lied and told him that their names were John and Joanna, and that she was 24 years old and that they were from Colorado. Barry became suspicious of the pair. He noticed how Cummins made every effort to keep Elizabeth away from him.

Barry appeared on Good Morning America, and told the audience how he clued in on things like how Elizabeth wouldn’t look at him and talked very little.

“I had a photo of him that was the Amber Alert and I was like, that’s definitely the guy, and then we saw the car as well and it matched up,”. It was at that point that Barry contacted the authorities.

The Nissan Rogue, Cummins’ car, was then placed under surveillance overnight on Wednesday. Early Thursday morning, the 20th of April, law enforcement approached the cabin and were able to extract the pair with no problems, although they recovered two loaded handguns from the premises.

Out of over 1,500 leads, it was this one which made the difference. Law enforcement stresses that the public should always report suspicious activity.

The Amber Alert had been issued for Elizabeth Thomas. Tad Cummins had been placed on the Ten Most Wanted List in Tennessee. It was only a matter of time before they were found, but thankfully, she was found safe and alive.

In spite of this rare rescue where the victim was recovered safely, Elizabeth still has not spoken with her family. She is flying back to Tennessee today. Her father believes she has been brainwashed. He says it will be a long road back. The family may file a civil suit.

 Cummins is being held in the county jail in Yreka, CA. NBC News states that Cummins did not have a plan in place before absconding with Thomas.


 Janice Barlow’s latest true crime book is now on Amazon in soft cover and Kindle, “He Should Be Dead


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