Ex-teacher, teen planned to paddle to Mexico


FBI special agent Utley Noble offered an in-depth timeline of events based the bureau's investigation, including receipts, surveillance footage and interviews with Cummins, according to the Tennessean. Cummins was arrested on April 20, when he and Elizabeth were found living "off the grid" in a remote cabin in Northern California.

A federal judge ruled Friday that Cummins was to be held until his trial on the grounds that he was a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Friday's hearing was held to address Cummins' request to be released from custody while he awaits trial. That included, testimony showed, disabling his Global Positioning System on his vehicle, switching out license plates, and Cummins and the girl throwing their cellphones in the Tennessee River near Decatur, Alabama, so they wouldn't be tracked.

"No. Not necessarily", she said.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Utley Noble testified during the court hearing that Cummins admitted to authorities of having sex with Thomas most night during the 38 days he was on the run with her.

On the day he left, he cleaned out a lockbox in his home of $4,500 and two guns and left his wife a note saying he was heading to Virginia Beach or maybe Washington, D.C., to "clear my mind of this crap". To avoid getting caught, he also disabled the car's Global Positioning System and tossed their phones into the water.

After ditching their phones and trading their vehicle's license plates for tags from an abandoned vehicle, the pair spent their first night in Mississippi. The FBI agent testified Barry felt bad for Cummins and Thomas, befriending them and filling their auto up with gas.

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While on the run, he bought an electronic tablet to keep up with news of their disappearance, along with a two-person kayak worth $1,500, Noble said.

He told investigators he selected a Spanish-sounding name because he'd hoped to go to Mexico - but he changed course when they attempted to cross the Coronado Bay in a kayak and it proved too risky. They used aliases of a married couple, John and Joanne Castro, so they would blend in once they crossed the border.

Prior to his capture, Tennessee authorities issued a warrant for Cummins' arrest on charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor - the latter charge stemming from an incident in which he allegedly kissed Elizabeth at the Culleoka Unit School, where Cummins was Elizabeth's health sciences teacher.

They acquired a "friend" named Griffin who gave them some money and gasoline. He and Thomas found Barry again. Federally, the 50-year-old faces one count of transportation of a minor across state lines for the objective of having criminal sexual intercourse.

Cummins was captured the next day and Thomas was recovered safely. "And I predict this case will be studied years in the future about how authority figures like Tad Cummins can mess up young children who believe their lies and are manipulated into doing things they would never do".

Cummins has not yet been indicted and could face additional charges.