Court documents accuse Elizabeth Thomas' mother of abusing her for months before she was allegedly kidnapped by her 50-year-old teacher Tad Cummins. Authorities claim that this abuse could have made her Elizabeth Thomas particularly vulnerable to an adult predator.
According to an NBC affiliate, Elizabeth Thomas' mother, Kimberly Thomas, 48, is scheduled to appear in court next month. She has been indicted on four counts of misdemeanor child abuse and one felony count of abuse for a child under the age of eight, according to court documents obtained by People. She has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Authorities claim the mother physically abused her children beginning in November 2014. She is accused of hitting her kids until they bled, and knocking one daughter unconscious with a wooden board. She is also accused of throwing a chair at another daughter, banging a 15-year-old’s head on a washer and throwing a daughter down the basement stairs.
The children wrote letters to the Department of Children’s Services about the abuse, according to one of the teen’s relatives. Those letters led to her arrest. Thomas’ father was living at home during that time, but separated from his in November 2015. He took sole custody of the children, according to the divorce filing. The mother has been ordered to keep away from her kids, according to court records.
Thomas’ father filed for divorce Monday, and he cited the alleged abuse.
A history of abuse at home can make children particularly susceptible to manipulation disguised as help, said David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.
“They’re very vulnerable to the grooming because this is an adult who seems to care about them and is interested in them, and that’s probably something they’re not getting elsewhere,” he said a report.