News, Culture & Society

Teen girl abducted by teacher breaks silence

The teen girl who went on the run with her 50-year-old teacher in Tennessee for five weeks has revealed she doesn’t regret it and that it was ‘an experience’ she’ll live with for the rest of her life.

Elizabeth Thomas sparked a nationwide manhunt when she was allegedly kidnapped by Ted Cummins, her former teacher at Culleoka Unit School, on March 13. 

Cummins was arrested on April 21, five weeks after going on the run from Columbus, Tennessee, Thomas when they were found hiding out in a rural cabin near Cecilville in northern California. 

He remains in custody and has pleaded not not guilty to charges of taking a minor across state lines for sex, and obstruction of justice. His trial is set to begin in January and he faces at least 10 years behind bars if he is convicted.

Thomas had not spoken publicly about her time with Cummins until Saturday evening in Columbia where she was found sitting inside of a fast-food restaurant. 

Elizabeth Thomas (above), the teen girl who went on the run with her 50-year-old teacher in Tennessee for five weeks, has revealed she doesn’t regret it

The 16-year-old girl revealed that she returned to Columbia permanently in July and that she spent 78 days in therapy in Jackson, The Daily Herald reported.

She said that she is happy to be back home with her brother and that she is being home schooled. 

Thomas said that she doesn’t regret leaving town.

‘I don’t regret it, nor do I say it was the right thing to do,’ the teen said. 

‘It was an experience I’ll have to live with the rest of my life. 

‘It’s good and bad. It’s there. No matter what we do, we’ll have to deal with it.’

Thomas, who is not living with her father or her siblings, added: ‘It’s only been recently that I wanted to talk — to anyone. There’s been some much speculation about me. 

‘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.’ 

She shared that she spends most of her time baby sits children, working in Columbia and studying.

Thomas, who said she wants to be a medical examiner when she is older, has two more years left of high school and is thinking about attending either MTSU or Vanderbilt.