Missing Tennessee student: From kissing allegation to manhunt

Tennessee investigators are racing against time to find a kidnapped teen whose disappearance has captured national attention.

Tennessee police are searching for a 15-year-old high school freshman who authorities believe was abducted by her 50-year-old former teacher. The report also recommended that the administration monitor Cummins' classroom to make sure students weren't there when they weren't supposed to be. "In fact, it only heightens it".

Cummins was eventually suspended over the allegation until he was formally fired the day after he and Thomas disappeared.

The teacher called Elizabeth "a really good friend" and said she came to see him when she needed someone to calm her down. "She stated students hang out in his classroom a lot". It is unknown if Cummins was also spotted in that location.

"Having now been on the run for more than five days, Cummins may have taken her, frankly, anywhere", the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations said on Sunday, CNN reported.

Cummins, who had taught Elizabeth in a forensics class at a high school in Culleoka, some 50 miles southwest of Nashville, is charged with kidnapping her. Her parents reported her missing later in the day.

"We have no idea when law enforcement was notified", said Jason Whatley, the Thomas family attorney. Cummins was added to the state's "Most Wanted" list on Friday. He described himself as a parent, grandparent and "Jesus freak".

In the days before her disappearance, Elizabeth posted several cryptic Instagram posts about love including a picture of Beauty and The Beast, with the caption: "Every beauty needs her beast to protect her from everything but him".

"She woke up her older sister and said 'Hey I'm leaving, but if I'm not back by six come looking for me, '" said Danielle Thomas.

School Superintendent Dr. Christopher J. Marczak issued a statement on Tuesday, saying: "On behalf of the Maury County Public School system, we hope and pray for the safe return of Elizabeth Thomas".

"To that end, let me speak directly to my husband", she continued.

"Our message to her tonight: you are a victim", Mr Devine said. This is not who you are. "Please help us bring her home". A $1,000 reward is available for information leading to Cummins' arrest.

Authorities also released the last known image taken of Thomas before she disappeared. It's possible he's altered his appearance since then. The "shockingly low number of tips" has led the TBI to conclude the pair are likely out of view of the general public or have traveled outside of the southeast, spokesman Josh DeVine said.

Cummins is described as 6 feet tall, with brown hair, brown eyes, and weighing 200lbs.

It's been eight days since 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas went missing.

Thomas was last seen at a restaurant in Columbia, Tenn., on March 13, wearing black leggings and a flannel shirt. Your information or tip may be what leads to get this child home. Nevertheless, Elizabeth's family is shaken up by the footage. If you spot the vehicle and can verify the license plate to be TN 976-ZPT, call 911 immediately.