Federal authorities ask for suspected Tennessee kidnapper to be held without bond

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Tad Cummins (Photo: Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Federal authorities have asked the courts to deny bond for Tad Cummins, the Tennessee teacher accused of kidnapping his 15-year-old student, and move him to the Middle District of Tennessee while he awaits trial.

That’s all spelled out in court documents filed in California today.

Assistant United States Attorney Jason Hitt filed the documents stating Cummins “planned and executed an audacious scheme to take a juvenile victim across the United States while evading law enforcement for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual conduct and, ultimately, he wanted to take the victim south of the border to Mexico and beyond for his own purposes.”

The documents refer to items detailed in the federal criminal complaint against Cummins: the plan to take the juvenile victim from Tennessee, the effort to avoid law enforcement and that the defendant was a fugitive from justice for a total of 38 days.

The documents also go into detail about what Cummins admitted to law enforcement during questioning:

  • The defendant left Tennessee at a time when he knew he was the subject of an investigation because he had been interviewed multiple times by officials about his involvement with the victim. The logical inference is that the defendant fled in early March 2017 because he did not want to await the outcome of the investigation since it was likely to lead to criminal charges against him and, therefore, he fled to avoid criminal charges.
  • The defendant intentionally employed measures to elude capture by law enforcement after fleeing Tennessee. Such measures included switching vehicle license plates twice, disabling the vehicle’s GPS system, using aliases for both himself and the victim, altering the appearance of his vehicle, altering his appearance, using back road routes, conducting cash only transactions, intentionally discarding known cellular telephones, leaving a deliberately misleading note with his wife regarding his direction of travel, monitoring news media outlets from a device procured during fugitive status for current information regarding the investigation, and staying at low profile locations, including hotels with relaxed check-in requirements and commune-type communities.
  • The defendant had plans to attempt to escape across the United States border to Mexico. He then planned to seek passage to countries further south of Mexico. In furtherance of this plan, the defendant procured a small watercraft and conducted a test run to cross into Mexico across the water from San Diego. The defendant also considered the feasibility of a land crossing into Mexico.

Tad Cummins is expected in federal court in Sacramento this afternoon at 2 p.m. Pacific time.

For weeks, we shared with you the name and pictures of the Tennessee teenager at the center of a nationwide search. We did so to help authorities rescue her. Now that she has been reunited with her family, we will no longer identify her in our stories. We have made this decision out of respect for her and her family’s privacy, as well as for her long-term recovery. The stories we have aired and published will remain unedited in order to preserve their historical accuracy.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.