Tennessee Officials Probing 381 Leads In Missing Student-Teacher Case

Vishakha Sonawane
Anthony Thomas, the father of 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas, filed a petition requesting a judge to allow him to question potential witnesses over the teen's disappearance.

One month after teen Elizabeth Thomas went missing, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is probing 381 leads in the disappearance of the student suspected of being kidnapped by her teacher Tad Cummins, AL.com reported Thursday.

TBI received 1,481 tip-offs on 15-year-old Elizabeth and 50-year-old Cummins, the bureau’s public information officer Susan Niland said, according to AL.com. Of these, 1,100 leads have been dismissed and TBI continues to investigate the remaining, Niland added.

Law enforcement officials declared an Amber Alert in Tennessee and Alabama after Elizabeth disappeared March 13 and issued a warrant against Cummins for kidnapping and having sexual contact with the minor. Authorities received several tips on the pair’s reported sightings — of which, TBI confirmed one in Oklahoma City, where the two were captured March 15 on security footage of a Wal-Mart. The video came to light two weeks after Elizabeth and Cummins were spotted at the retail store.

Elizabeth is a student at Maury County’s Culleoka Unit School, where Cummins worked as a health science teacher. The school fired him from the job after the alleged kidnapping.

The Maury County District Attorney Brent Cooper urged the teen to call her family even if risked his investigation into the criminal case against Cummins, according to CBS-affiliate WHNT-TV.

"We don't care if she calls to tell them, 'I'm happy, I'm with him. I'm happy and I don't want to come home.' At least then they'll know she's okay," Cooper said.

On Tuesday, Cooper said Cummins left a note for his wife Jill Cummins on day he went missing — likely to mislead authorities.

"If you look at it now after knowing what's happened, it's obvious the note was just an attempt to buy some extra time before his wife raised the alarm," said Cooper. "I would say that there's a decent chance that some federal laws have been violated at this point, and certainly there could be additional state charges depending what we can prove once they've been located."

The district attorney also said Cummins is on blood pressure medication and should be in need of a refill. Pharmacies and doctors have been told be on lookout for the student-teacher duo.

Separately, Cummins’ family urged him to return.

“No matter where you are, daddy, no matter what you’ve done we just want you to come home,” Cummin’s 29-year-old daughter Erica Osborne said during an interview with ABC News on Thursday. “We miss you so much. We’re here for you, no matter what anytime, any place, anywhere.”

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