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Nationwide alert issued for teacher and missing Tennessee teen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is now expanding its search for missing teenager Mary Catherine Elizabeth Thomas. Thursday, they expanded an Amber Alert in Tennessee and Alabama to a nationwide be-on-the-lookout alert.

Investigators believe the 15-year-old is with her 50-year-old teacher, Tad Cummins, who’s accused of having inappropriate contact with Thomas while at school, WSMV reported.

The TBI believes Thomas is in serious danger.

Thomas and Cummins’ relationship, the TBI told WSMV, started at school.

On social media, Cummins calls himself a Jesus freak, a husband, father, grandfather and teacher at the Culleoka Unit School in Maury County. But to state and federal investigators, he’s a wanted man.

Wednesday, Maury County Schools released a statement saying they suspended Cummins due to a law enforcement investigation.

Jason Whatley represents Thomas’ family. He says the district waited 14 days before they suspended Cummins, and it wasn’t until they sent the district a letter of concern.

Thursday, officials with Maury County Schools changed their story. They now tell WSMV that after the allegations surfaced on Jan. 24, they investigated and found nothing to substantiate the claims of inappropriate contact. They say they suspended Cummins on Feb. 6 for insubordination.

After being suspended, Cummins took to Instagram, posting things like “It was love at first sight” and “Something beautiful is on the horizon.”