Elizabeth Thomas, the Tennessee teen at the center of a highly publicized abduction has spoken out for the first time.
In March, her former teacher, Tad Cummins, allegedly kidnapped her for 38 days. The 50-year-old married man and the 15-year-old girl were discovered together in a remote cabin in California.
“I don’t regret it, nor do I say it was the right thing to do,” Thomas, now 16, told a reporter from Columbia Daily Herald. “It was an experience I’ll have to live with the rest of my life.”
An editor at the paper approached her after spotting her at a fast food restaurant, wearing pajamas and babysitting two children.
“There’s been so much speculation about me,” the teen said. “There are people saying, ‘She’s not talking for this reason. She’s not talking for that reason.’ It’s not that. It’s just the publicity is affecting people. Everyone just needs to calm down. I am a human being. I can answer things fairly. But people are asking things that are too personal. People are talking to me like they know me. They didn’t talk to me before. They didn’t try to know me before. They have only liked me since I came back.”
Her former teacher, Cummins has been charged with kidnapping and sex crimes, according to PEOPLE.
Thomas is currently being homeschooled. She told the editor at the Columbia Daily Herald that she “can’t complain” about her life right now. Thomas is now living with her older brother. Previously, she was living with her dad.
In April, Thomas’ father filed for divorce from Thomas’ mother, citing irreconcilable differences and inappropriate marital conduct. The mother, Kimberly Ann Thomas, has been indicted on charges she abused their children, according to court records, The Tennessean reports. She is allegedly charged with abusing five of her 10 children, including Elizabeth Thomas.
“It’s just safer to be back with my brother instead of in the middle of everything,” the teen said.
She also talked about her future, telling the paper that she wants to attend Middle Tennessee State University to become a medical examiner.
[Photo: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation]