The family of Elizabeth Thomas is preparing for the trial of Tad Cummins. On July 25, Cummins faces kidnapping and sex crimes charges for abducting and kidnapping his 15-year-old student. “It’s a highly emotional issue,” the teen's father, Anthony Thomas, shares with PEOPLE. “[Going to court] is going to be very difficult for everybody.”
Authorities believe that 51-year-old Cummins seduced Thomas and took her from her home in Tennessee on a cross-country trip. The illicit romance made national headlines. Authorities searched for the couple, who were believed to be in a sexual relationship, for 38 days. They were eventually found in a remote cabin in California after being spotted by a tipster.
It's unclear whether the teen will have to testify but her father says that they are prepared. “We’ve spoken many times as a family,” Anthony says. “[Going to court] is just something we’re going to have to go through.”
Authorities said that Thomas was not physically harmed but she has undergone psychological trauma. “We are doing fine,” her father adds. “It’s just a process you have to go through. [We’re] being very supportive.”
[Photo: Tennesee Bureau of Investigation]