Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Tad Cummins indicted by federal grand jury on two felony charges

Tad Cummins indicted by federal grand jury on two felony charges

Tad Cummins is seen in this April 20, 2017, photo released by the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office.

The 50-year-old was indicted by a federal jury of one charge of transporting a minor across state lines for the purposes of engaging in sexual conduct and one charge of obstruction of justice.

On Thursday a former Tennessee school teacher accused of abducting a 15-year-old student in a cross-country journey that ended with his arrest in California was indicted by a federal grand jury.

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The indictments accuse Cummins of destroying two cellphones "with the intent to impede, obstruct and influence the investigation" into his alleged kidnapping of 15-year-old Thomas, his former student, according to the indictments.

Cummins vanished with the girl on March 13 from Columbus Tennessee. After receiving a tip-off from a property caretaker, police finally managed to capture them in Siskiyou County, California near the OR border where they had been living.

"There are a lot of questions that have been unanswered" about the incident, Cummins' attorney, Dumaka Shabazz, told reporters on Thursday.

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If convicted, Cummins faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, up to life.

Cummins also faces state charges of sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said last month. The teacher's lawyer, however, had argued that he never took the girl against her will and did not harm her.

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