Tad Cummins, her teacher, has been arrested.
An anonymous caller alerted authorities of a possible siting of Thomas and Cummins at a remote cabin about 11 p.m. central time Wednesday, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department had received the same tip.
After confirming the VIN number of the Nissan Rogue in which Cummins and Thomas had allegedly been traveling, authorities took Cummins into custody at around dawn, authorities said.
Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins has been arrested and 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas has been found safe in northern California, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation tweeted Thursday. Thanks go to all who have kept the message of finding Elizabeth Thomas and working on her safe return as top-of-mind throughout the nation.
"Our intelligence analysts and agents have worked tirelessly since issuing this AMBER Alert to process more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states", TBI director Mark Gwyn said following the rescue of Elizabeth Thomas.
"We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off", he added. Thomas was subsequently recovered by officers, and efforts to reunite her with her family are ongoing.
"She is excited that they were found and nobody was hurt", Cox said. "Our main concern is how she is emotionally and mentally". Her alleged abductor, Tad Cummins, was taken into custody. He is being held without bond.
An acting USA attorney in Tennessee says the teacher who is accused of kidnapping his 15-year-old student has been charged with taking a minor across state lines to have sex.
"At the end of the day she's 15 years old, she's 15 years old, she's a young girl that's with a grown man that's 50 years old".
The two vanished from Columbia, Tennessee, on March 13.
Court papers filed recently in the girl's disappearance say she was afraid of the teacher and thought she would face repercussions at school if she resisted him. Elizabeth Thomas was a student in Cummins' forensics class.
Rep. Sheila Butt, a Republican state lawmaker who represents Columbia, said Thursday was a great day for her community. He also reportedly tried to find out if certain features of his vehicle could be tracked by law enforcement. Attorney Jason Whatley has said the school system must have not believed the student's report.
"We're so happy that California police worked quickly and were able to find them and get her safe."
The student, Elizabeth Thomas, was found safe in in Cecilville, near the OR border, her sister Kat Thomas said Thursday. "With the information that I have seen, and that is on Facebook, I'm glad to see that she is unharmed, as far as we know now".