Court filings now claim that Tad Cummins may have threatened Elizabeth Thomas, and that she may not have wanted to run away with him.
Thomas’ father has filed a petition through his attorney to depose witnesses who have knowledge of the relationship between the 15-year-old and her suspected abductor and teacher.
On Thursday, Anthony Thomas’s lawyer filed a Petition for Perpetuation of Testimony appealing to the court to allow the attorney to take depositions of witnesses who were privy to Elizabeth’s relationship with Cummins and her state of mind before her March 13 disappearance, according to Crime Online.
The document claims that 50-year-old Cummins was a chaperone on a student field trip in January after school officials were told that Cummins and Thomas were seen kissing in a classroom. It alleges that Cummins went to the teen’s home on several occasions without her father’s knowledge. Based on the report, Cummins pressured Thomas to go out to eat with him and threatened “repercussions at school” if she didn’t. The document also claims that Thomas told friends and siblings that she felt overwhelmed and in “over her head” in her relationship with Cummins.
She also allegedly said that she was scared of him, according to the document.The petition also alleges that Cummins would visit the girl’s job at a fast food restaurant against her wishes. On multiple occasions she asked co-workers to tell Cummins she was not there if he showed up. It claims that Cummins told Thomas that “her future collegiate and work career was ruined” because of the kissing incident and his subsequent suspension from the school.
According to the report, Thomas reportedly told the friend who dropped her off at a restaurant to meet Cummins on the morning she left town that she did not want to go. She allegedly said she was having second thoughts about spending the day with him. The document also claims that she told this friend that she was meeting someone other than Cummins.
The teen is believed to have left her hometown of from Columbia, Tennessee on March 13 with Cummins. The two have been spotted on a surveillance camera at an Oklahoma City Wal-mart two days later but neither have been heard or seen of since.
Anthony Thomas’s petition accuses Cummins of preying upon his daughter for months “nudging and molding her until her will to resist was conflicted and ultimately broken.”
On Thursday, he released a statement explaining his intentions for the petition according to the report. It reads: “We are now facing four weeks into the abduction of Elizabeth Thomas. As it would be for any family in this situation, the process of this investigation has been frustrating. Perhaps the most concerning element has been the hesitancy of some persons to fully cooperate in sharing information that they know. As time goes on, the family is growing more and more desperate to formally examine all witnesses who have information that might assist in finding and rescuing her. The purpose of our petition as filed today will hopefully put an end to that hesitancy displayed by some and will help us, as the family, to methodically confirm facts that have been at times unclear. We believe Tennessee law permits us to do this through pursuing the concurrent goal of preparing for legal restraint and other legal remedies against Tad Cummins once he is caught and Elizabeth is home. Therefore, through the power and process of the Court, we intend to clarify and confirm the facts that led to Elizabeth’s disappearance, including statements made by her or Tad Cummins, that might provide clues as to where they are. As directed by the Court, and in exploration of civil claims against Tad Cummins, we will be able to do this and satisfy the concurrent goals of gathering evidence to help find Elizabeth and also dealing with Tad Cummins once he is captured.”
[Photo:Tennessee Bureau of Investigation]