Authorities think Cummins manipulated the girl into a sexual relatonship at Culleoka Unit School, where he taught and she was a student.
"To that end, the TBI would like to hear from anyone who may have had an interaction with either individual prior to their disappearance", according to the TBI, which has received roughly 250 tips from 24 states in connection to the case, some from as far away as California and Florida. Tad Cummins was placed on the TBI's Top 10 Most Wanted List. The man and the teen may have dyed their hair or otherwise changed their appearance.
But the net is being spread wider.
"That's how it started", Rowland said.
A subsequent letter from the district to Cummins on February 3 stated that Elizabeth was in the teacher's classroom that day, which the letter said violated a previous order by the district.
DeVine has said authorities believe Thomas is in imminent danger. By 12:41 p.m., she was missing.
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They also encourage those around campgrounds, parks and other isolated areas to remain vigilant for any sign of Thomas or Cummins.
Thomas is fearful for his daughter's safety.
AMBER Alerts have been issued in both Alabama and Tennessee, along with a national BOLO Alert. He is believed to be driving a Silver Nissan Rogue with a Tennessee license plate 976ZPT. He has no criminal history in Tennessee, according to authorities.
Cummins was suspended by the school when the Maury County Sheriff's Department began investigating him for sexual contact with a minor and formally dismissed him on Tuesday over the incident. "We can help you get through this".
"We want her home as quickly as possible, and the fact that she's not is certainly frustrating", he says.
The photos released Monday show Cummins, wearing a green camouflage hat and a Navy blue jacket, walking around a store.
Investigators say Thomas was last seen Monday morning being dropped off at a Shoney's restaurant in Columbia.
Thomas is a 15-year-old white female, with hazel eyes, stands 5 feet, 5 inches and weighs 120 pounds.