COLUMBIA, Tenn. — After being missing for more than a month, a 15-year-old Tennessee girl was found near a cabin in a remote part of northern California and the 50-year-old teacher accused of kidnapping her was arrested, authorities said.
Health sciences teacher Tad Cummins surrendered to sheriff’s deputies Thursday without incident in Cecilville, California, hours after they had set up surveillance on his vehicle in the area, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said. The girl was apparently healthy and unharmed, but authorities said their main concern was her emotional and mental state.
“We couldn’t be happier to tell you she will soon be on her way back home to Tennessee,” Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said.
Cummins faces state charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor as well as a federal charge of taking a minor across state lines to have sex. If convicted of the federal charge, he faces at least 10 years in prison, acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith said.
Authorities declined to answer a question on whether the girl went willingly, saying it didn’t matter.
“At the end of the day she’s 15 years old. She’s 15 years old; she’s a young girl that’s with a grown man that’s 50 years old. He needs to be held accountable for kidnapping this girl,” Gwyn said.
The Associated Press is not naming the girl or her family members because she is an alleged victim of a sex crime.
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