Nationwide Manhunt Continues for Teacher Accused of Kidnapping Student

(CNN) A nationwide manhunt continues for an armed Culleoka, Tennessee, teacher accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old student just weeks after he was investigated for kissing her in his classroom, police say.

Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas have been missing since March 13.
Here's a timeline of what led up to and transpired during the weeklong manhunt:

July 6, 2011

Cummins applies for a job with Maury County Public Schools. He had spent the previous four years working as a respiratory therapist at medical services companies in Tennessee.

On his resume, the Mount Pleasant native says he graduated magna cum laude from Columbia State Community College in 1993 with an associate of applied science degree in respiratory care technologies. His GPA was 3.57, he says.

Under "achievements," he says he has been a percussionist since the late 1970s and has been in several bands. He also holds copyrights for 65 songs, most of which he wrote "with my guitar, piano, or behind my congas," he writes.

The website for one of his bands, Cry for Holiness!, says the group is made up of "5 Dads that God brought together as one collective vessel to use the musical talents He gave us to glorify His precious name and reconcile His children to Him!"

"I am a Christian," he continues on his resume, before reeling off the many capacities in which he'd served at his Columbia church -- among them, teen Sunday school teacher and "adult chaperone for youth activities."

He volunteered in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and in the Panamanian rainforest. He earned a black belt in Kenpo Karate in 1999, he says.

July 27, 2011

Maury County Public Schools hires Cummins for a health sciences position at Culleoka Unit School after he received strong marks during the interview two days earlier.

May 15, 2014
Cummins is notified that he has been "renewed" as a teacher.

May 15, 2015
He receives another renewal notice.

August 1, 2016
Culleoka Unit School, which houses kindergarten through 12th grade, begins the school year. Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Thomas begins freshman year, during which she will take a forensics class with Cummins.

January 23

According to an internal school investigation report, "Student 1" says she walks into Cummins' classroom to retrieve her bookbag and witnesses Cummins kissing Elizabeth.
"It wasn't like a make out kiss, just a peck on the lips," the middle-school student says when she reports it to the administration.

Uncomfortable, she leaves the room and finds "Student 3," a high schooler, to whom she relays what she just saw. The high schooler will later describe Student 1 as "freaked out" by the incident, according to the report.

January 24

Student 1 wants to confront Cummins, 50, so she brings "Student 2," another middle-schooler, to his classroom, the report says.

"Mr. Cummins commented to both Student 1 and Student 2 that he is a father figure to Beth. He commented he saw her as a close and best friend. He also revealed ... that Beth had been through a lot and had suffered an abusive home life," according to the report.

Not satisfied, Student 1 decides to go to the administration, the report says.

January 25

The school district begins an investigation. Over several days, Elizabeth, Cummins and an unidentified teacher are interviewed, according to the investigative report.

Elizabeth says she goes to Cummins' classroom when she becomes upset or anxious. She considers him a friend and he knows how to calm her down. Other students feel the same about him, she says. She denies that they've ever kissed and says that she has been to church with him and his wife. The only times Cummins touched her, she says, is when he gives her the occasional fist bump. One time he grabbed her hands to calm her down, she says.


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