The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it received a tip late Wednesday evening indicating that Cummins and Thomas may have been in a cabin in a remote area of Cecilville, California. The Nissan Rogue at the center of the search was parked outside, TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said.
Tad Cummins was an intensely sought fugitive, trumpeted from coast to coast as the Tennessee teacher accused of running off with his 15-year-old student.
Cummins is in custody in a California jail without bond, awaiting extradition to Tennessee to face charges of sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping, according to TBI.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it has worked tirelessly to trace the pair for the past five weeks, looking into more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states.
Michael "Monk" O'Hare, who said he was out of town that evening, owns property in the small, forested California hamlet of Cecilville, including the 12 by 12-foot wood cabin where he said the pair was found. The date of separation was listed as March 13, the same day Cummins and Thomas went missing. When you do that, you can't hide, " TBI director Mark Gwyn said.
The TBI releases new photos and surveillance video of both Cummins and Thomas before their disappearance.
"We're absolutely thrilled and blessed to have her safe and on her way home".
"We're going to have to figure out what kind of state of mind she's in, of course, and probably get her some help".
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Cummings was Elizabeth's 50-year-old high-school teacher at Culleoka Unit School in Maury County, Tenn.
Sarah Thomas said she noticed the word "Wife" with a diamond ring emoji added to Elizabeth Thomas' Instagram biography.
District Attorney Brent Cooper told news outlets Tad Cummins takes medicine to control his blood pressure and would likely need a refill.
She said she's proud of her community, and is confident local officials will find a way to learn from this entire ordeal.
Friday, March 31, 2017: The TBI confirmed a March 15 sighting of Thomas and Cummins at a Walmart in Oklahoma City.
Elizabeth Thomas, age 15, disappeared on March 13 and wasn't recovered until April 20.
The girl was found safe on Thursday and the teacher was arrested.
Mr Cummins' wife Jill previously made an emotional plea on U.S. television for her spouse to turn himself in. The teacher, however, acknowledged that the girl was "a really good friend and she does leave her other classes to come see him when she needs someone to calm her down", according to a school report dated January 30.