As law enforcement officers across the country continue to hunt for Tennessee teen Elizabeth Thomas and her former teacher Tad Cummins --- the 50-year-old man who allegedly kidnapped the 15-year-old -- investigators have shed light on their relationship, revealing that emails between the pair have uncovered a "romantic interest in each other."
Thomas and Cummins wrote emails to each other but did not send them -- instead they would save the email in the drafts folder of Cummins' school email account, the Maury County District Attorney and the Sheriff's Office revealed Friday.
"They would write the message and let it save as a draft," Maury County District Attorney Brent Cooper explained to ABC affiliate WAAY in Huntsville, Alabama. "The other person would log in, read the message and then delete it and then write another message that was saved as a draft."
NEW PICTURE: Here's Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas at school in January, days before his alleged inappropriate contact with her. pic.twitter.com/BzyIz8KPpY
- TBI (@TBInvestigation) March 21, 2017Investigators said the pair wrote inappropriate messages to each other, but Cooper declined to elaborate.
"If you read them you would immediately recognize you are reading messages between two people who have a romantic interest in each other," Cooper said.
The lead investigator on the case shared one of the emails with WAAY.
"'I saw you standing next to you backpack this morning' and [Cummins] makes a reference to a body part of hers and how nice that looked," said Marcus Alright with the Maury County Sheriff's Department.
UPDATE: We have determined the purchase of hair dye by Tad Cummins was not part of his intended plan for #ElizabethThomas. #TNAMBERAlert pic.twitter.com/mzrPlhvOhQ
- TBI (@TBInvestigation) March 21, 2017Meanwhile, a former coworker of Cummins is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Chandler Anderson, a nurse practitioner in Columbia, Tennessee, first met Cummins in 1998. Prior to being a teacher he was a respiratory therapist.
Anderson says he's worried about Thomas.
"You've got to do something to motivate people to be more vigilant about trying to find this young girl, because this is not going to end well if we don't get her home, and get her home soon," he said.
Emails between allegedly kidnapped teen and former teacher reveal 'romantic interest,' says DA