Tad Cummins appears in federal court, will return to Tennessee to face kidnapping charges

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SACRAMENTO, Cal. - The man accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl from Columbia, TN, appeared in federal court Monday afternoon.

Tad Cummins was brought to Sacramento, CA, where attended his arraignment. His attorney asked for Cummins to be taken back to Tennessee to face charges, and the judge approved the request.

Cummins walked in to court wearing an orange prison jumpsuit that said "Sac Co prisoner" and was shackled with a chain around his waist. He didn't say a word aloud and listened intently to Magistrate Judge Kendall Newman.

Cummins turned his head toward the prosecutor, who argued he was a danger and a flight risk. The US attorney said two guns were found in Cummins' vehicle.

Benjamin Galloway was appointed as his public defender in California. Galloway said his client was not a dangerous flight risk because the allegations against him do not include threats or coercion and that this is "not an abduction or kidnapping."

Galloway said his client looks forward to going to Tennessee as soon as possible to fight the charges against him.

Cummins was read the federal charge against him: transportation of a minor across state lines for the purpose of criminal sexual intercourse. The charge carries a minimum of 10 years. The maximum is life. The fine is up to $50,000.

Cummins is charged in Siskiyou County, CA, with kidnapping and possession of stolen property. He and his former student were found in a cabin in the area on Thursday morning.

Cummins is being held without bond. He is awaiting extradition to Tennessee, where he will be charged with sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping.

The 50-year-old is also facing the federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines for criminal sexual intercourse. The charge carries a minimum 10-year sentence.

According to investigators, Cummins refilled a prescription days before leaving Columbia, TN. His wife told investigators he had been prescribed Cialis, which is used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Cummins reportedly left a note for his wife saying he was heading toward Virginia, maybe even the D.C. area. He wrote that he just needed to clear his head and asked her not to call police. Investigators suspect this may have been his way of throwing people off.

The criminal complaint states that Cummins stopped in Oklahoma twice, booking hotel rooms in his own name and even listing his phone number. In both cases, the rooms only had one bed.

Surveillance footage captured the pair at a Walmart in Oklahoma. Investigators noted that Cummins bought women's razors, chocolate and a lubricant typically used for sexual intercourse.

Eventually, authorities caught up to Cummins and the teen in northern California. The cabin they were staying in is tucked away next to a river in a remote part of the county. Officials said the cabin had two cots but no power. They were there for about two days before they were caught.

Cummins' next door neighbor described him as a nice person who seemed devoted to his family.

Randall Scott said he lived next to the Cummins for a little over a year and spoke to him about his job at the school and the church. He said he was shocked to learn Cummins was wanted for kidnapping.

"That was a total character than what I ever experienced," Scott said. "Of course we all have to make decisions every day, and I think he made the wrong decision when he chose to leave the state of Tennessee with a 15-year-old girl."

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