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Hunt Continues For Missing Teen & Teacher: 'He Stole My Daughter'

//elizabeth thomas missing teacher pp

Mar. 20 2017, Published 1:11 p.m. ET

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As the hunt for missing Tennessee teen Elizabeth Thomas continues, the high school freshman's family has pleaded with 50-year-old teacher Tad Cummins to return her home safely.

As reported, Thomas, 15, went missing with her armed former teacher last Monday, with police expressing deep concern over "his intentions for her."

It remains unclear whether she was taken against her will when she disappeared.

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"This is a 15-year-old girl — and if they are together, she has been groomed by a 50-year-old authority figure, so how could we even define 'willingly'?" the family's lawyer, Jason Whatley told PEOPLE last week.

Meanwhile, Thomas' family and 100 other attendees held a candlelit vigil Saturday night in Columbia, Tenn., sharing their sadness and shock in a number of tearful speeches.

"What Tad did, he stole my daughter from me, but Maury County is a big community. He didn't just steal from me, he stole from the Maury County community," Elizabeth's father, Anthony Thomas, said before the crowd. "We are going to get her back. We are going to get her back. Please help us bring her home."


On Friday, Cummins' wife Jill spoke to her husband directly in an emotional statement at the Maury Country Sheriff's Office in Tennessee: "Tad, this is not you. This is not who you are. We can help you get through this. No matter how far you've gone or what's happening right now, God's grace is sufficient for you and He wants you to come home. Your family wants their Papi back. Please do the right thing, and turn yourself into the police and bring Elizabeth home."

Thomas was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings. Cummins was seen driving a Silver Nissan Rogue with a Tennessee license plate 976ZPT, according to authorities.

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