Apr 21, 2017
PNP comment: There is a video from Good Morning America ABC on the link below. Good work Siskiyou County Sheriff’s department!!! — Editor Liz Bowen
Man who tipped off authorities about missing Tenn. student Elizabeth Thomas describes ‘clues’
By MORGAN WINSOR and KAYNA WHITWORTH
April 21, 2017
The man who tipped off authorities and led them to a former Tennessee teacher accused of kidnapping his 15-year-old student said today there were “clues” that made him suspicious of the pair.
Griffin Barry came across Elizabeth Thomas and her alleged abductor, 50-year-old Tad Cummins, at a gas station in far northern California this week.
Cummins told Barry, a caretaker on a property that includes the gas station, that they needed money for gas, food and a place to stay. Cummins said their names were John and Joanna and that the teen was 24, Barry told ABC News today.
Barry said he paid to fuel up their car, gave them an extra $40 in cash and set them up in a nearby cabin on the remote property in Cecilville, a rural area near the Oregon border with little to no cellphone service. Barry is a resident on the same property.
Cummins and Elizabeth stayed inside the tiny cabin for two nights, he said, with no running water or electricity.
During that time, Barry said, he didn’t talk to the pair much but he noticed Cummins tried to “keep her away.”
“The girl wasn’t really looking at me or anything and he was always dominating the conversation. That kind of clues people in,” Barry said today on ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”
“I had a photo of him that was the Amber Alert and I was like, that’s definitely the guy, and then we saw the car as well and it matched up,” he added.
After realizing who they were, Barry said he immediately called 911.
Elizabeth had been missing since Cummins allegedly kidnapped her on March 13. A day after they disappeared, he was fired from his teaching job at Culleoka Unit School in Culleoka, Tennessee, where Elizabeth had been a student in his forensics class.
Cummins was wanted on allegations of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. The former teacher was also added to Tennessee’s 10 most wanted list. Meanwhile, an Amber Alert had been issued for Elizabeth.
Authorities arrest Cummins
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) public information officer Josh Devine said they received a call to their tip line about a possible sighting of the duo around 11 p.m. local time Wednesday. The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department in California had received a similar tip, Devine said.
After investigators located a Nissan Rogue, they were able to confirm through its vehicle identification number that it belonged to Cummins. The car was then kept under surveillance for several hours.
Authorities from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department found the pair at the isolated cabin early Thursday morning, nearly 2,500 miles away from their homes in Tennessee. Deputies set up a perimeter around the cabin and elected to wait until the morning to arrest Cummins as he exited the residence, according to the sheriff’s department.
As daylight broke, Cummins surrendered without incident and Elizabeth was safely recovered by law enforcement officers, according to the TBI. Two loaded handguns were found in the cabin, according to the sheriff’s department.
“Our intelligence analysts and agents have worked tirelessly since issuing this AMBER Alert to process more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states,” TBI director Mark Gwyn said in a statement Thursday. “What happened in California this morning, however, proves it only takes one person to lead to a successful end. We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off. We’re also grateful for the public’s support and vigilance throughout this search effort.”
Speaking with “GMA” on Friday morning, authorities from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department said it was “an intense situation.”
“After we placed them into protective custody, she was laughing, she was crying. She was kind of an emotional roller coaster, as you can imagine,” Lt. Behr Tharsing said.
Tharsing told “GMA” that Cummins made some “spontaneous statements” after his arrest, telling law enforcement officers he was armed but not dangerous and would fully cooperate. Cummins also told authorities he was “relieved” the incident had come to an end, Tharsing said.
Sheriff Jon Lopey credited Barry for his role in securing the arrest, saying it was a “great partnership” between a citizen and law enforcement.
“We may not have detected Mr. Cummins had he not brought his presence to our attention. He helped us tremendously,” Lopey told “GMA.”
“Griffin definitely was pivotal in this event.”
Authorities had initially said Cummins was arrested at a commune in rural Siskiyou County but later clarified that the arrest occurred at a cabin.
A worker at Black Bear Ranch told ABC News that Cummins and Elizabeth had tried to stay at the commune but were turned away because of “all kinds of indications” that something was off about them. Cummins became angry when they were rejected, the worker said.
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Apr 20, 2017
SISKIYOU COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE REPORT
April 20, 2017
On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at about 9:00 p.m., the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) received a tip that a vehicle matching the description of Tennessee Kidnap suspect Mr. Tad Cummins, 50, was observed in the Cecilville area of Siskiyou County. Cecilville is a small rural community located in a mountainous area of the county about 68 miles southwest of the county seat, Yreka. According to reports, a male adult and a young female were staying in a cabin off of Eddy Gulch Road in Cecilville. Deputies responded to the scene and verified that the vehicle, a 2015 Nissan Rogue, silver in color, matched the description broadcast nationwide via an Amber Alert dated March 13, 2017. The original broadcast indicated the kidnap suspect; Mr. Cummins was possibly armed with two firearms, which prompted a tactical response by the Department’s Special Response Team (SRT).
The SCSO SRT responded to the scene, established a perimeter around the cabin believed to be occupied by Mr. Cummins and his juvenile female victim and elected to wait until morning to arrest the suspect when he exited the cabin. A citizen who befriended the suspect and victim assisted SRT members at the scene. On Thursday, April 20, 2017, shortly after 9:30 a.m., Mr. Cummins exited the cabin and was taken into custody by SCSO SRT members without incident. The female victim exited the cabin and was walking behind Cummins. She was detained at the scene for her protection and to facilitate further investigation and victim services. Two loaded handguns were recovered in the cabin along with various personal items belonging to both Mr. Cummins and his female victim.
The victim appeared to be in good health and Mr. Cummins was cooperative with law enforcement authorities at the scene. Mr. Cummins was transported to the Siskiyou County Jail in Yreka and booked on a Maury County, TN fugitive arrest warrant for aggravated kidnapping. Contact has been initiated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI) investigators. Memphis FBI and TBI investigators are en route to Siskiyou County to continue their on-going investigation. The kidnapping victim has been transferred to FBI Agents assigned to the Redding, CA office. She will undergo a forensic interview and as a crime victim, receive the care that she needs at this time. Mr. Cummins will be arraigned on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Mr. Cummins also faces local charges for kidnapping and possession of stolen property. These and other charges are pending review by Siskiyou County District Attorney, Kirk Andrus.
According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “I would like to commend the citizens that played a role in bringing Mr. Cummins’ activities to our attention, which led to a response by members of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office. I am proud of the men and women of this Department that played a role in this potentially dangerous surveillance and arrest, especially the Special Response Team responsible for the safe and successful resolution of this 6-week ordeal. The SRT worked in freezing weather conditions but resolved this mission without anyone getting hurt, which was a good day for our Department, the female victim, and her family. Like any major crime perpetrated against a young teenager, this case is a difficult one and will plague the victim, her family, friends, and the law enforcement officers and agents involved in the case for years to come. On behalf of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to offer our thoughts and prayers to the victim, her family, friends, and the all involved law enforcement officers and other members of the justice system as this investigation continues to achieve justice for all concerned.”
Anyone with any information about the activities of Mr. Cummins or his victim is urged to contact the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.
Apr 20, 2017
50-Year-Old Suspect Tad Cummins Apprehended, Awaiting Extradition to Tennessee
April 20, 2017
NASHVILLE – Acting on a tip received by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation late last night, authorities in Siskiyou County, California have rescued Elizabeth Thomas and arrested Tad Cummins, after locating the pair at a commune in Cecilville early this morning.
Thomas, 15, was the subject of a Tennessee AMBER Alert issued on March 14th, after having been kidnapped a day earlier by Tad Cummins, a former teacher at her school in Maury County, Tennessee. On March 17th, the TBI added the 50-year-old to the state’s ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list.
This morning, authorities from Siskiyou County located the Nissan Rogue in which the pair were traveling and later located the pair. Cummins surrendered without incident. Thomas was subsequently recovered by law enforcement officers. At the time of this release, efforts to reunite her with her family remained ongoing.
“Our Intelligence Analysts and Agents have worked tirelessly since issuing this AMBER Alert to process more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “What happened in California this morning, however, proves it only takes one person to lead to a successful end. We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off. We’re also grateful for the public’s support and vigilance throughout this search effort.”
The TBI has been assisted in this search by a variety of law enforcement agencies across the country, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Maury County Sheriff’s Department, and the Office of 22nd District Attorney General Brent Cooper.
At the time of this release, Cummins, 50, remained in the custody of the Siskiyou County (CA) Sheriff’s Department without bond, awaiting extradition to Tennessee to face charges of Sexual Contact with a Minor and Aggravated Kidnapping. A currently booking photograph was not immediately available for release.
Apr 19, 2017
The monster snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains is larger than it has been in the four previous years combined, new NASA data shows.
The measurements in the Tuolumne River Basin were made with NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory, a plane with an advanced set of research equipment that can collect measurements over a widespread area. On April 1, the snowpack was at 1.2 million acre-feet, which is enough snow to fill the Rose Bowl in Pasadena about 1,600 times.