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Weeks before a student and teacher went missing, another teen reported seeing them kiss

Nearly two months before a high school student and her former teacher went missing, they were allegedly seen kissing by another student in the teacher’s classroom.

The school district investigated the allegation, removed student Elizabeth Thomas from teacher Tad Cummins’ class and said the teacher would be reprimanded. But the district said it was unable to confirm from available evidence that the kiss occurred.

Tennessee authorities are now asking for the public’s help in their hunt for Cummins, 50, who is accused of kidnapping 15-year-old Elizabeth last Monday, March 13, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said. Neither Elizabeth nor Cummins has been in touch with their families, authorities said. Cummins is believed to be armed and authorities say the teen is “in imminent danger.”

It was Jan. 23 when one of Elizabeth’s schoolmates reported that as she was walking into Cummins’ classroom she saw Elizabeth and Cummins kissing, according to a Jan. 30 school district investigative report.

“It wasn’t like a make-out kiss, just a peck on the lips,” the student said in a written statement quoted in the school district’s report.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
Pictured is Elizabeth Thomas, the subject of a statewide AMBER Alert in Tennessee.

The student told another schoolmate about what she said she had seen that day. The schoolmate said the student was “freaked out” by the alleged incident, according to the school district report.

The next day, the student took a different schoolmate with her to confront Cummins about what the student said she saw, the report said. Cummins allegedly told the students that he was “a father figure to Beth” and that he “saw her as a close and best friend,” the report said.

The student reported what she said she had seen to school administrators.

The school district’s investigative report said Elizabeth said Cummins had never kissed her nor made her feel uncomfortable.

“She looks at him like a friend and counselor who…

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