NEW INFORMATION: Authorities: Father of Tennessee girl says he is overjoyed

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The father of a 15-year-old Tennessee girl who disappeared with her teacher more than a month ago says he is overjoyed that his daughter has been found safe.

Tad Cummins (left) and Catherine Elizabeth Thomas (right)

The father tells WSMV-TV that his daughter is probably going to be hungry and that he can't wait to tell her that he loves her. He said Thursday he didn't want to talk about the teacher, Tad Cummins, who is accused of kidnapping the girl.

Authorities say they were found at a commune in Cecilville, California, on Thursday. Cummins surrendered without incident.

The father says he is going to have to figure out what sort of state of mind his daughter is in and that it may be a long road to recovery.

Police previously said they have warrants charging the teacher with sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping.

The Associated Press is not naming the girl or her father because she is an alleged victim of a sex crime.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) --The school district of a missing Tennessee student who was found with her teacher in California says it is continuing its efforts to better respond to accusations of misconduct at school.

The Maury County Public Schools Facebook post comes in the wake of complaints from the girl's family that the school system did not respond properly after a student at the Culleoka Unit School reported seeing teacher Tad Cummins kissing the 15-year-old student.

An attorney for the girl's family has said her father didn't find out about the report of the kiss or the school's investigation until a law enforcement agent showed up at his door.

The girl was found safe on Thursday and the teacher was arrested. The school system said the community can now begin healing.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Authorities say a 15-year-old Tennessee girl who disappeared with her teacher last month has been found safe in California and the teacher has been arrested.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation tweeted Thursday that teacher Tad Cummins had been taken into custody. The agency said it would provide more details in a press conference later.

Elizabeth Thomas disappeared from her home near Columbia on March 13. Columbia is about 45 miles (70 kilometers) south of Nashville.

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.



 
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