Missing teen believed to be with teacher is not a romance, it's a kidnapping

The family of missing Maury County teen Elizabeth Thomas has released a new statement through family attorney S. Jason Watley on Thursday. PHOTO: Elizabeth Thomas

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WZTV) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is stressing that the AMBER Alert involving Mary Catherine Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins is not a romance -- it's a kidnapping.

TBI officials held a news conference Tuesday, two weeks after Thomas and Cummins went missing. There have been about 1,100 tips but no credible sightings. Law enforcement across the country continue to follow up on leads, but so far, none have been founded.

TBI officials are cautioning the public on "victim blaming" in this case and say that it was a well thought out kidnapping.

Officials are asking the public to stay vigilant, and if you see something, say something.

Thomas, 15, is believed to be with her former teacher, 50-year-old Tad Cummins. Cummins is wanted for aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. He is now on the TBI's Top 10 Most Wanted List.

A nationwide BOLO has been issued. The FBI and National Center for Missing & Exploited Children are involved in the case.

Anyone who sees Cummins or Thomas should call 911 immediately. Anyone with information on their whereabouts should call 1-800-TBI-FIND.