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DA willing to jeopardize criminal case to bring home TN AMBER Alert teen

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says there has been a confirmed sighting of AMBER Alert teen Elizabeth Thomas and her accused kidnapper Tad Cummins in Oklahoma. PHOTO: TBI

In an unprecedented move, Maury County District Attorney Brent Cooper released details about evidence in the case Wednesday, particularly a note Tad Cummins left for his wife the day he went missing.

Cooper said he's willing to jeopardize the criminal case against accused kidnapper Tad Cummins if it brings missing Maury County teen Mary Catherine Elizabeth Thomas home safe. Cummins faces possible charges for sexual contact with a minor and kidnapping.

It's been 30 days since Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins disappeared. Posters and green ribbons are up all over the Square in Columbia. Many people in Murray County expected the case would've been sold by now.

Brent Cooper is taking a big risk to get Elizabeth Thomas home safe.

"If we jeopardize our criminal case by releasing something, if it leads to her being found, it'll be worth it," Cooper said.

The District Attorney is releasing information about a note Tad Cummins left for his wife before he took off with 15-year -old Elizabeth Thomas.

"Without saying what he said, it was basically a breadcrumb to a location that we know was not where they went," Cooper said. "It was just a way to buy some time."

Cummins' wife Jill notified authorities the next day, but by that time the pair had already left. Since then, they were spotted shopping at an Oklahoma City Walmart on March 15, which is two days after they disappeared.

Cooper said Cummins may now be running low on the blood pressure medication he takes daily.

"[We are] asking doctors, walk in clinics to be extra alert," Cooper said. "If they're in the states he'll have to go and get a doctor to refill that. Of course if they're in Mexico maybe not."

In the meantime, the district attorney has a message for Thomas.

"You don't even have to tell them where you are," Cooper said. "Just borrow someone's phone to call them and say I'm okay. At some point, we're going to find them through a good police work or a lucky break. We'll take either one."

Cooper isn't releasing the exact contents of the note, but says it's not a confession and does not mention Elizabeth by name.

He's asking people across the country to remain vigilant and call in tips to 1-800-TBI-FIND.

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