Columbia hosts vigil for Elizabeth Thomas

COLUMBIA, Tenn. - With candles in their hands and tears in their eyes, dozens of people from Maury County gathered today in Columbia's town square.

Elizabeth Thomas's father adressed the people who accuse his daughter of willingly leaving with the man police say kidnapped her.

"Please understand that she is not better off out there. She`s better off here in this community and people who care about her. All these people you see here are people that know any love her." her father, Anthony Thomas, said.

The family attorney, Jason Whatley, says that Tad Cummins groomed the young girl by telling her she had no future in college.

Others spoke in defense of Elizabeth, saying she put her trust in a teacher - someone who is supposed to be entrusted with the care of children.

While the focus of the vigil was Elizabeth Thomas, those in attendance say this could happen to anyone.