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The search for a missing 15-year-old Tennessee girl ended Thursday after she was located in northern California, authorities said.
Ayrika Whitney/USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

NASHVILLE — A former Tennessee teacher planned to take his 15-year-old former student to Mexico before venturing to other countries, and may have had the means to do it, according to new court documents.

“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,” states a document filed Monday in a California federal court about Tad Cummins.

“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.”

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Cummins is charged with kidnapping Elizabeth Thomas in early March, taking her from a restaurant near her home in Columbia, Tenn., and eluding law enforcement for 38 days before they were captured last week in Cecilville, Calif. The new federal court documents also show the 50-year-old Cummins admitted to switching vehicle license plates twice, disabled his vehicle’s GPS system, used aliases, altered his appearance, paid only in cash and used back roads during his nearly six weeks on the run.

Cummins was taken into custody Thursday. The pair arrived in northern California on Tuesday. Cummins had said that he needed work and that they had lost everything in a fire in Colorado and needed a place to stay. 

“During his flight, the defendant engaged in a daring cat-and-mouse run from law enforcement in order to further his own prurient desires while engaging in a number of sophisticated maneuvers to avoid being caught. His actions in evasion were criminal,” the document states.

“This level of sophistication demonstrates that he cannot be trusted with conditions, or any combination of conditions, of release while awaiting trial in the Middle District of Tennessee.”

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