SISKIYOU COUNTY, Cali. - Thursday, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office revealed more information about how they captured Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas.
They told media it began with a tip Wednesday evening around 9 PM PST. They worked all night in the cold waiting to detain the pair in the safest way.
How it Happened
Deputies explained the office got a tip that a vehicle matching the description of suspected kidnapper Tad Cummins was seen around the Cecilville area.
Cecilville is a small rural community located in a mountainous area. It is far from the county seat in Siskiyou County, and deputies say Cummins chose it as a good place to lay low. Reports said that an adult male and a young female were staying in a cabin in the area, which made residents suspicious.
Deputies believe that Cummins and Thomas had made their way there, attempting to seek refuge in a commune in that part of California. But the pair eventually moved on to that cabin, where the owner was allowing them to stay while they worked for money for food and gas to get back on the road.
Deputies investigated the tip and verified that the 2015 Nissan Rogue matched the description given in the nation wide AMBER Alert for Elizabeth Thomas. They found a Colorado license plate on the vehicle, and saw many maps inside.
Because the AMBER Alert stated that Cummins could be armed, the department's Special Response Team responded carefully. The sheriff explained the SRT established a perimeter around the cabin and waited until morning.
Authorities said Cummins was taken into custody without incident when he came out of the cabin, followed by Thomas. Deputies wanted to separate her from Cummins as quickly and safely as possible, and detained her too. Deputies describe the encounter as "extremely compliant," noting that the pair thanked law enforcement for their professionalism.
The investigation uncovered two loaded handguns in the cabin along with various personal items belonging to both Thomas and Cummins. Deputies say they also located multiple stolen license plates in Cummins' car.
Authorities say that Thomas appears to be in good health, and that Cummins told deputies upon his arrest, "I am glad this is over."
Cummins was transported to the Siskiyou County Jail and booked on a fugitive arrest warrant for aggravated kidnapping.
Elizabeth Thomas has been placed in FBI custody and transferred to Redding California. Authorities say Thomas will undergo a forensic interview and as a crime victim she will receive the care she needs.
Cummins will be arraigned on Friday at 10 a.m. PST on fugitive warrants. He also faces federal charges and California charges of kidnapping and possession of stolen property. In Tennessee, he is also charged with kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.
Siskiyou County District Attorney, Kirk Andrus said these and other charges are pending, based on further investigation.
Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said:
"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 Tad Cummins or Elizabeth Thomas during the time of their disappearance is urged to contact the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.