Elizabeth Thomas, the Tennessee teen who went missing with her 51-year-old former teacher Tad Cummins, may have been abused by her own mother, making her vulnerable to grooming, RadarOnline.com has learned.
According to divorce papers filed by dad Anthony Thomas on Monday, the 15-year-old was physically abused by her mother for months before her parents separated in November 2015.
In the documents, obtained by multiple news outlets, Anthony claims mother Kimberly Thomas, 48, beat Elizabeth and even locked her in the basement.
On other occasions, Kimberly allegedly smashed Elizabeth's head on a washer and threw her down a flight of stairs, the documents claim.
Anthony later alleged that Kimberly was abusive towards all of their 10 children, whom he has sole custody of.
Meanwhile, David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, said that children with a history of abuse at home are more susceptible to further manipulation.
"They're very vulnerable to the grooming because this is an adult who seems to care about them and is interested in them, and that's probably something they're not getting elsewhere," he said, according to the Daily Mail.
As Radar readers know, Thomas and Cummins disappeared from Columbia, Tennessee, on March 13.
Soon after, it was discovered that the pair had exchanged "love letters" and were allegedly caught kissing on school grounds on one occasion in January.
When Thomas first went missing with her armed former teacher, police expressed deep concern over "his intentions for her."
Now, after police discovered the pair in a remote hut in California, Cummins will face some serious consequences.
A warrant had been issued for the now fired teacher's arrest on charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor (over kiss claims). Thomas' willingness to disappear with Cummins remains unclear at this time.
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