The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation(CULLEOKA, Tenn.) — After more than a month on the run amid a nationwide manhunt, former Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins was found with his 15-year-old student, Elizabeth Thomas, in far northern California.

Cummins was arrested and charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. On Friday, the FBI took custody of Cummins under a federal warrant, which supersedes all local charges. The FBI is expected to take him back to Tennessee.

Elizabeth will be reunited with her family in Tennessee Friday.

Here’s what is known about the days leading up to her alleged abduction, her time spent on the run with Cummins and how authorities finally located them thousands of miles away.

Jan. 23

One of Elizabeth’s schoolmates reported seeing her and Cummins kiss in his classroom at Culleoka Unit School in Culleoka, Tennessee, on Jan. 23. Both denied the claim, but the school district in Maury County decided to investigate the allegation.

Jan. 30

A report from the school district dated Jan. 30 stated that neither Cummins nor Elizabeth “admitted to behaving inappropriately towards the other.” Cummins said Elizabeth, a student in his forensics class, is “a really good friend” who sees him “when she needs someone to calm her down.” He said he loved his wife and would never cheat on her, the report stated.

The report concluded that it “could not be confirmed” the alleged kiss happened. However, the report said Elizabeth would be removed from Cummins’ class and that “Cummins will be reprimanded in regards to his duty to uphold his professional responsibility and behavior.”

Feb. 3

The school district wrote a letter to Cummins on Feb. 3, stating that Elizabeth was in the teacher’s classroom that day, which the letter said violated a previous order by the school district.

Feb. 6

The school district wrote another letter to Cummins on Feb. 6, telling him he is suspended without pay immediately “pending an investigation.”

An attorney for the Thomas family wrote a letter to the school district superintendent on Feb. 6, claiming that Elizabeth’s father was never alerted by the district about the alleged incident and found out about it on Jan. 31, more than a week after the kiss allegedly happened, when sheriff’s deputies called to ask him questions.

The lawyer’s letter also suggested the teen was communicating with the teacher through her cellphone. “Upon inspection of her cellphone the two are also having telephone communications,” the attorney’s letter stated.

March 5

Cummins, a married father and grandfather, researched “teen marriage” online, specifically the age of consent, on March 5, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

March 10

Cummins conducted an online search about his car “to determine if certain features could be tracked by law enforcement,” according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

March 13

Elizabeth urgently woke up her sister Sarah on March 13 and made her promise to call the police if she’s not home by 6 p.m. that night.

Sarah later told ABC News that Elizabeth sounded “serious,” not happy.

“She’s not a serious person,” Sarah said.

Elizabeth was seen around 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m. local time at a Shoney’s restaurant in Columbia, Tennessee, where she is dropped off by a friend, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. She never returned home that night.

Surveillance footage from a gas station near the restaurant appeared to show Cummins at about 8:30 a.m. filling up his silver Nissan Rogue.

Later that same afternoon, a cellphone ping placed the pair in Decatur, Alabama, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

March 14

Cummins was officially fired from his teaching job at Culleoka Unit School.

An Amber Alert was issued for Elizabeth.

March 15

Surveillance cameras at a Walmart in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, captured Cummins and Elizabeth in the store on the afternoon of March 15.

Investigators later obtained and released images from the surveillance footage.

The footage showed the pair entering the Walmart together, where Cummins used cash to buy food. He didn’t buy “anything else of significance,” according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

In the video, Cummins has “an altered appearance to darken his hair” and indicated that “Elizabeth may currently have red hair,” according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

March 17

Cummins, wanted on allegations of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor, was added to Tennessee’s 10 most wanted list.

March 28

Brent Cooper, the district attorney general for Giles, Lawrence, Maury and Wayne counties in Tennessee, asked members of the public to share the Amber Alert for Elizabeth with friends and family members in Mexico and Central America, adding that Mexican law enforcement had been notified and “it’s possible that’s where they are.”

Cooper said Cummins “planned this in such a way that he had a 24-hour head start … easily enough time for him to make it to Mexico.”

March 31

A lawyer for Cummins’ wife, Jill Cummins, said she had filed for divorce after 31 years of marriage.

“Jill will attempt to move forward with her life,” attorney Michael Cox said in a statement provided to ABC News. “Jill continues to pray for the safe return of Elizabeth Thomas and for a peaceful resolution to this ordeal.”

April 11

Cooper told ABC News that Cummins is on medication to control his blood pressure and should need a refill. Pharmacists were asked to be on alert for customers who look like Cummins or Elizabeth.

Cooper also told ABC News that Cummins left a note for his wife the morning he vanished. Cooper didn’t provide details on what was in the note, but said it appeared to have been a diversion to throw investigators off the trail.

April 18

Griffin Barry, a resident in far northern California, met Cummins and Elizabeth at a gas station in a very rural area of Cecilville.

Cummins told Barry, who lives on a property that includes the gas station, their names are John and Joanna and that they need money for gas, food and a place to stay.

Barry paid to fuel up their car, gave them an extra $40 in cash and set them up in a nearby cabin on the same property where he resides.

Barry didn’t talk much with the pair, he said, but became increasingly suspicious the more he interacts with them.

“The girl wasn’t really looking at me or anything and he was always dominating the conversation. That kind of clues people in,” Barry later told ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”

April 19

After realizing who Cummins and Elizabeth really were, Barry called 911 on April 19.

“I had a photo of him that was the Amber Alert and I was like, that’s definitely the guy, and then we saw the car as well and it matched up. Then we called the police right after that,” Barry later told “GMA.”

Around 11 p.m. local time on April 19, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation received a call to its tip line about a possible sighting of the duo, according to the bureau’s public information officer, Josh Devine.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department in northern California, received a similar tip, according to Devine.

Investigators located a Nissan Rogue and were able to confirm through its VIN number that it belonged to Cummins. The car was kept under surveillance for several hours.

April 20

Authorities from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department located Cummins and Elizabeth at a cabin in a rural area in remote Cecilville, nearly 2,500 miles from Elizabeth’s home in Tennessee.

Authorities were deployed to the location around 2 a.m. local time and deputies set up a perimeter around the cabin. They elected to wait until daylight to arrest Cummins as he exited the residence, according to the sheriff’s department.

Around 9:30 a.m. local time, Cummins exited the cabin and surrendered without incident. He was subsequently placed under arrest. Two loaded handguns were found in the cabin, according to the sheriff’s department.

Elizabeth also exited the cabin and was safely recovered by law enforcement officers.

“After we placed them into protective custody, she was laughing, she was crying. She was kind of an emotional roller coaster, as you can imagine,” Lieutenant Behr Tharsing of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department later told “GMA.”

Cummins was charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor, according to Cooper.

The U.S. State Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee also filed a federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines with intent of having criminal sexual intercourse against Cummins, according to U.S. attorney Jack Smith. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Cummins also faces charges in California’s Siskiyou County for kidnapping and possession of stolen property, according to the sheriff’s department. The charges are pending review by Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus.

Cummins was in the custody of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department without bond, until Friday.

April 21

FBI officials arrived at the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department around 8:30 a.m. local time on April 21 with a federal warrant to take custody of Cummins, superseding all local charges in Tennessee and possible charges in California.

Cummins is in the custody of the FBI and is expected to be taken back to Tennessee.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Jeremy Schrank/Charleston RiverDogs(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Air Force Staff Sgt. Georgina Walton, home from deployment, surprised her son Brody after he threw out the first pitch at the Charleston, South Carolina, RiverDogs baseball game Thursday.

Brody, who turns 6 Sunday, thought he was only throwing the first pitch at the minor league game for his birthday. But what he got was an even better present: a hug from his mom.

“He just stared at me and his eyes got big and teary,” Walton, 26, told ABC News of the heartwarming moment. “He couldn’t say anything. He was very stunned. He didn’t say anything until he was almost in the locker rooms and I asked him, ‘Are you ok?’ and he said, ‘I’m just so excited.’”

Walton was deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia for almost seven months. She said Brody was terribly upset that his mom wouldn’t be home for his upcoming birthday, so she knew the homecoming would have to be a special one.

“I looked online at the events happening around here to surprise him,” she said. “The RiverDogs game was one of the events. I grew up going to the RiverDogs and always loved it. He’s been raised to love sports so I contacted them and it was his first game there ever.”

Walton could barely contain her excitement before walking onto the field to join him.

“I was extremely overwhelmed,” she recalled. “I had to stand back for a minute to let him throw the first pitch. As soon I saw him walk on the field I wanted to run out. I was overcome with emotion. I missed him so much.”

She said she is thankful for everyone who helped make this magical moment possible.

“I’m extremely thankful for my family. I couldn’t do it without them,” Walton said. “I’m also so grateful for the RiverDogs for letting me do that. They were amazing. And I’m so grateful to serve our country too, and be a part of the Air Force. I’m so grateful for everything they’ve given me.”

Now the mother-son duo are looking forward to celebrating Brody’s birthday this weekend by going four-wheeling at Carolina Adventure World, an outdoor ATV and dirt bike park.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Phill Ellsworth/ESPN Images(PITTSBURGH) — The Pittsburgh Penguins advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 in Game 5 Thursday night.

The defending champs faced a Columbus team that surprised the hockey world by scoring a franchise-record 108 points this season, but the seven games series mostly fell in the Penguins’ favor.

It was capped on Thursday when Columbus nearly rallied back to tie the game at three after Pittsburgh took an early commanding lead. However, the game-tying goal was called off, and Penguins star Sidney Crosby secured the team’s fourth point to regain a comfortable lead for Pittsburgh.

Marc-Andre Fleury had 49 saves in his club-record 57th playoff win according to ESPN. He was supposed to be a backup in the series, but Matt Murray sustained a lower body injury before Game 1, and Fleury stepped up. Crosby called him “our best player.”

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said of the series, “It’s never perfect out there by any stretch. We love their compete level. We love their ability to respond to the adversity we face or the challenges we face throughout the course of a game, throughout the course of a series.”

Columbus head coach John Tortorella, who led the Blue Jackets to the playoffs for just the second time in the last eight seasons, told reporters after the loss, “I’m proud of our club. That’s not a 4-1 series. I’m not going to (complain) about it. They win.”

Pittsburgh will face the winner of the Toronto-Washington series in the conference semifinal.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Adell Forbes(NEW YORK) — One mother from Georgia is taking legal action after her 14-year-old son died while on a class trip to Belize last year, and is warning other parents to “trust no one” when it comes to sending your children on international school trips.

Tomari Jackson, 14, was on a trip with his North Cobb High School Biology class last February in Belize when he died after drowning in a river during a chaperoned excursion.

For the past 14 months, Tomari’s mother, Adell Forbes, has been seeking an explanation as to what caused her son’s death.

“I dropped him off at the airport … hours later … I got a call that he was missing,” Forbes told ABC News. “Eventually, someone from the [U.S.] embassy said, ‘We recovered his body from 30 feet of water.'”

Forbes continued, “Out of all those people there, how could he have just disappeared into thin air?”

More than a year after her son’s death, Forbes received package in the mail that contained a video from a small camera her son had strapped to his head at the time that he died. The U.S. State Department had sent the package of Tomari’s belongings to her after receiving it from Monkey Bay Sanctuary, where he was staying at in Belize.

The recording, shot from Tomari’s point of view, shows the teen as he rinsed his shoes in the river and walked towards the shore. The video continues to show Tomari swimming, and then appears to show him struggling.

The video also captures classmates and chaperones around Tomari as he was struggling in the water, and depicts him calling out for help — three times — to those around him.

The harrowing footage is now the focus of Forbes’ lawsuit against the school district and Monkey Bay Sanctuary.

“There were multiple opportunities to save Tomari’s life,” Forbes said. “In my mind, I’m thinking it takes seconds to extend your hand and pull someone up, so there were multiple opportunities to save him. That’s when I realized how deep it was where they were, so it was just mind blowing that that was allowed to happen.”

C.K. Hoffler, Forbes’ attorney, told ABC News that it was only after the students and the chaperones returned to their bus that they realized Tomari was missing. His body was not recovered by authorities until the next day.

“It took an hour to realize that Tomari, the only African-American boy on that trip, was missing,” Hoffler said. “So they must not have been paying attention.”

Hoffler added that in the video left behind by Tomari, “the chaperones are in his plain view.”

“And they do nothing,” Hoffler said. “They should have been watching every single child, and forgive me if I’m angry, but this is unacceptable. My oldest son is the same age as Tomari was … It’s unacceptable, it’s inexcusable.”

The Cobb County School District told ABC News that they could not comment on the pending litigation.

Forbes told ABC News that “any respect I have for that school is gone.”

“Tomari may had been an afterthought to many, but to me he was everything to me, like just the center of my world,” she said.

The Monkey Bay Sanctuary told ABC News they “continue to grieve the tragic loss of Tomari Jackson.”

“All of us at Monkey Bay and in the local communities where our student guests conduct volunteer service learning projects continue to grieve the tragic loss of Tomari Alijah Jackson, the 14-year old North Cobb High School student who passed due to drowning in Feb 2016 while participating in a study-abroad service learning program,” the sanctuary said in a statement to ABC News. “Monkey Bay is an environmental education centre that serves as an Education Abroad hosting facility for schools all over the world. We have been assisting faculty-led programs for the past 23 years, providing students and their leaders access to the natural and cultural diversity Belize offers.”

The statement continued, “Our Monkey Bay Crew is very compassionate about our work. We are in good standing with all local licensing and regulatory agencies, and actively maintain and rehearse safety and security procedures on a recurring basis. Immediately following Tomari’s accident, Monkey Bay directors reached out and communicated with Tomari’s family and witnessed to his mother Adell what had happened at the Sibun River. Matt Miller, Monkey Bay Managing Director, traveled to Atlanta with Tomari’s remains to meet with Adell and personally express our collective sorrow for the accident. We also contributed funds to assist with funeral expenses and later visited Tomari’s gravesite in Marietta, GA to pay our respects.”

The sanctuary also acknowledged in the statement the “compassion and heartfelt sympathy expressed to us by many” since Tomari’s death, writing, “These include the North Cobb High School chaperones, the Principal of the high school, the parents of the students enrolled in the school’s International Studies Magnet Program, the US Embassy in Belize, the Belize Police Department and Belize Coast Guard, and the Clergy in Belize who have been praying with us continually.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The state of Arkansas carried out its first execution in 12 years on Thursday just before midnight, after a series of rejected appeals that reached all the way up to the Supreme Court cleared the way for 51-year-old Ledell Lee to be put to death by lethal injection.

The execution took place after several last-minute appeals temporarily postponed the execution, which was initially scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CST.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said that a federal appellate court had “denied all requests from inmate Ledell Lee for a stay of his execution,” in a Twitter post at shortly after 9:00 p.m., noting that a temporary stay issued earlier by the Supreme Court remained in place while more appeals were considered.

But after 11:00 p.m., the Supreme Court issued orders denying the outstanding appeal requests, allowing the execution to proceed.

According to on-site reports from ABC station KATV, the Arkansas Department of Corrections said the first drug was administered at 11:44 p.m., and Lee was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m.

Lee was sentenced to death in 1995 for the murder of Debra Reese, who was beaten to death inside her home. Lee and his attorneys have maintained his innocence in the crime.

The ACLU and the Innocence Project have contributed to Lee’s defense. His attorneys appealed for a delay in his execution so evidence from his criminal case could be released for DNA testing.

“Arkansas’s decision to rush through the execution of Mr. Lee just because its supply of lethal drugs are expiring at the end of the month denied him the opportunity to conduct DNA testing that could have proven his innocence,” Nina Morrison, senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project, said in a statement. “While reasonable people can disagree on whether death is an appropriate form of punishment, no one should be executed when there is a possibility that person is innocent.”

Arkansas originally planned to carry out a series of eight executions over the span of just 11 days — an unprecedented number in such a short amount of time — before one of the drugs it uses in lethal injections expires at the end of the month.

Legal challenges had until Thursday night prevented the state from following through on any of them.

“Tonight the lawful sentence of a jury which has been upheld by the courts through decades of challenges has been carried out,” said Attorney General Rutledge in a statement. “I pray this lawful execution helps bring closure for the Reese family.”

The Supreme Court played a key role in Thursday’s execution. In his first votes since joining the court, Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the conservative majority in denying multiple requests to stay Lee’s execution.

“Why these eight? Why now?” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent. “The apparent reason has nothing to do with the heinousness of their crimes … the reason the State decided to proceed with these eight executions is that the ‘use by’ date of the State’s execution drug is about to expire.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An Oregon man was arrested after police said he poured gasoline on a stranger and then lit him on fire at a Denny’s restaurant in Happy Valley, Oregon, ABC affiliate KATU reported on Thursday.

The 24-year old man, identified by police as Deshaun Swanger according to KATU, was arrested shortly before 8 p.m. local time. Police said the suspect poured liquid onto the victim, a 69-year old man who is now in critical condition, and then lobbed a burning object at him. The suspect then fled the scene.

“This just seems like a, a random act of violence,” said Sgt. Jason Ritter of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s office, according to the KATU report.

The victim was taken a local hospital, where he remained in critical condition as of Thursday, KATU said.

A surveillance tape recorded the suspect walking into the restaurant, and police put out a notice of his description.

He was later apprehended, with the local Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office tweeting, “We got him!”

We got him! #WorkingTogether

— Clackamas Sheriff (@ClackCoSheriff) April 21, 2017

“We are deeply disturbed by the senseless, random act of violence that took place at our franchised-owned Happy Valley restaurant, and our thoughts and prayers are with our guest that was seriously injured,” read a statement from a Denny’s spokesperson provided to KATU.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

Baltimore 2 Cincinnati1, 10 Innings

Boston4 Toronto 1, 10 Innings
Cleveland6 Minnesota 2
Tampa Bay8 Detroit 1
Houston 2 L.A. Angels1
Texas 1 Kansas City0, 13 Innings
Oakland 9 Seattle 6

Philadelphia6 N-Y Mets 4
Washington 3 Atlanta 2
Milwaukee7 St. Louis5
San Diego4 Arizona 1


Cleveland 119 Indiana114
Milwaukee 104 Toronto 77
Memphis 105 San Antonio 94

Pittsburgh 5 Columbus2
OT N-Y Rangers 3 Montreal 2
Nashville 4 Chicago 1
OT Edmonton 4 San Jose 3

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

jinga80/iStock/Thinkstock(FRESNO, Ca.) — The suspect behind a shooting rampage that killed three people in just minutes in Fresno, California Tuesday has been charged with murder from a previous killing.

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office charged Kori Ali Muhammad in last week’s murder of 25-year-old Carl Williams, a security guard at a local Motel 6. Muhammad told investigators that he shot Williams because he disrespected him, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Wednesday. He is also charged with attempted murder for shooting at a second security guard.

Muhammad — born Kori McDonald — will be arraigned Friday morning on that murder charge. The district attorney has not yet submitted its case on this week’s shooting spree.

Police said Muhammad was inspired to carry out the “hate crime” shooting after learning on a local news report that he was the suspect of the Motel 6 murder.

Muhammad told police that he is Muslim but had’t been to a mosque in 20 years and prays to numerous gods and practices voodoo rituals.

On Tuesday morning, he had gone to buy items to practice voodoo but stopped at a Starbucks instead, where he used the wi-fi to watch a news broadcast from ABC Fresno station KFSN, which identified him as the suspect in Williams’ murder.

He then decided to kill as many white males as possible, Dyer said, adding that he Muhammad told investigators that he does not like white men. Muhammad has also written anti-government sentiments on social media as well as posts saying that he does not like white people, the police chief said.

Muhammad fired 17 shots in about three minutes, killing three people. He also fired at two women inside of a car and at a group of men at a bus stop.

Muhammad was arrested shortly after the shooting and has since given detectives several hours of interviews describing his actions, laughing while he made the descriptions, Dyer said.

Dyer said that officers witnessed Muhammad yell “Allahu akbar” at the scene of the shooting. Dyer described Muhammad as a “racist” rather than a terrorist.

The shooting was labeled by police as a hate crime. It is unclear if Muhammad has retained an attorney.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

artolympic/iStock/Thinkstock(CECILVILLE, Ca.) — The missing Tennessee teen who was allegedly kidnapped by her former teacher was found in an isolated cabin in northern California after authorities received a tip late Wednesday describing a possible sighting of the pair.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation received the tip around 11 p.m. Wednesday and the caller pointed authorities to a cabin in Cecilville, a rural area near the Oregon border with little to no cell service, TBI Public Information Officer Joshua Devine said.

The caller indicated that 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas and her former teacher, 50-year-old Tad Cummins, may have been living in the cabin for a week-and-a-half, Devine said.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office also received a similar tip from the same individual around the same time, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies in Siskiyou County located a 2015 silver Nissan Rougue at the cabin that matched the description of the car Cummins was driving, according to the sheriff’s office. Investigators were then able to use the car’s VIN number to confirm that it belonged to Cummins and kept the car under surveillance for several hours, Devine said.

Law enforcement then established a perimeter around the cabin and decided to wait until the morning to arrest Cummins as he exited the cabin, according to the sheriff’s office. A citizen who had befriended the pair assisted police on the scene.

As daylight broke, Cummins was taken into custody, Devine said. Thomas family attorney Jason Whatley said a special police unit “swooped in” on the cabin with “force.”

Elizabeth exited the cabin behind Cummins and was taken into FBI custody in Redding, California, authorities said.

Two loaded handguns were recovered in the cabin, as well as personal items belonging to the pair, according to the sheriff’s office.

Cummins was transported to the Siskiyou County Jail in Yreka, according to the sheriff’s office. He will be arraigned Friday morning.

It could take weeks to extradite Cummins, the FBI said.

Cummins faces charges in Siskiyou County for kidnapping and possession of stolen property, according to the sheriff’s office. The charges are pending review by Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus.

In Lawrence County, Tennessee, Cummins faces charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor, said Attorney General Brent Cooper.

The U.S. State Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee also filed a federal charge of transportation of a minor across state lines with intent of having criminal sexual intercourse against Cummins, said U.S. attorney Jack Smith. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Whatley speculated that Cummins had planned an escape to the Northwest, referencing the citing of the two at a Walmart in Oklahoma City off Interstate 44, which leads to California.

There are “particular qualities in the Northwest that make it easy to disappear,” Whatley said.

Elizabeth was described by authorities to be “healthy” and “unharmed,” but they added that the main concern is the state of her emotional and mental well being. She will be flown back to Tennessee Friday morning on a TBI aircraft, Devine said.

The teen had been missing since she was allegedly kidnapped on March 13 by Cummins, who had been added to Tennessee’s Top 10 Most Wanted list. A day after they disappeared, Cummins was fired from his teaching job at Culleoka Unit School, where Elizabeth had been a student in his forensics class.

Authorities credited citizens and the media for their involvement in helping to locate the teen. Investigators received more than 1,500 tips regarding the whereabouts of the pair, according to the FBI.

“It only takes one tip,” Gwyn said. “This is yet another example of the value of the public helping us to rescue a kidnapping victim.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

moodboard/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Juan Manuel Montes, 23, was deported to Mexico in February in what has become a controversial case, pitting his advocates against Trump administration officials.

Attorneys for Montes allege that he was arrested, detained and deported in the middle of the night in mid-February. Then a couple days later, after being attacked and mugged in Mexico, he crossed back into the U.S. – turning himself into to U.S. authorities.

However, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the first incident never happened.

“There are no records or evidence to support Montes’ claim that he was detained or taken to the Calexico Port of Entry on February 18, 2017,” said a DHS statement.

Attorneys are now suing the government for more information and in a twist of fate, the lawsuit was assigned to the same judge Trump berated on the campaign trail.

Where the case stands now

Montes’ attorneys claim that this is first known case of a DACA recipient, or so-called “DREAMer” being deported under the administration of President Donald Trump and they want answers.

Lawyers for the 23-year-old brought a lawsuit in federal court, calling on the government to provide information about his case.

“The reason we filed the lawsuit on Manuel is first and foremost, we want the truth,” said attorney Karen Tumlin in an interview with ABC News.

Montes’ DACA status grants him permission to live and work in the U.S., according to court documents.

According to the government, he gave up that status when he left the U.S. without first getting permission — a requirement to keep DACA authorization. And they said he further violated his status, when he illegally re-entered the U.S.

“He once was covered by DACA but because of his behavior, his illegal behavior, he messed up that status and now he is been removed to his country of origin,” said DHS Sec. John Kelly when asked about the case during a border tour in El Paso, Texas on Thursday.

DHS produced a “few pages” of documents to attorneys this morning, detailing only the second deportation of Montes, said Tumlin.

This came after numerous requests for information that went unanswered — resulting in the lawsuit, said his attorney.

Attorneys for Montes said they will be responding immediately to what has been produced today, because they “believe it’s willfully insufficient,” said Tumlin.

We “will be moving as fast as possible to get answers for Juan Manuel,” she added.

The case is now before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who presided over two of the three lawsuits involving the now-defunct Trump University. Trump has attacked Curiel multiple times over the last year, questioning whether the judge’s heritage would influence his judicial decisions.

How the case landed with Judge Curiel

It’s a twist of fate, that the lawsuit landed before the same judge Trump berated on the campaign trail.

The case landed at the U.S. District Court for Southern California, where it was randomly assigned to Curiel, who serves as one of 17 federal district court judges, according to the clerk’s’ office.

The alleged incident took place in Calexico, California, giving the district court geographic authority. Montes’ attorneys are suing the federal government, so it went straight to federal court.

Judicial ethics rules prevent Curiel from commenting on any case that is before his court.

Montes’ attorney said that Trump’s past comments about Curiel are “absolutely irrelevant” to their case.

“As a litigator, as someone who appears before judges all over the country, I rely on anyone who rules the vote to be fair and impartial, and that’s what i expect of Judge Curiel, she said.

Join us in telling DHS Sec. Kelly: Bring DACA-recipient Juan back from Mexico! Sign the petition: #JusticeForJuan

— Nat’l Imm Law Center (@NILC_org) April 20, 2017

What’s next

Homeland Security officials maintain that Montes was justly arrested and deported.

Customs and Border Protection always keeps records of encounters and deportations, according to Customs and Border Protection.

“If it’s not in the system, then we didn’t encounter the person,” said a CBP official.

In addition, during his detention and arrest by Border Patrol on February 19, he admitted to agents that he had illegally entered the U.S., said DHS, which oversees CBP and Border Patrol.

He never mentioned that he had received DACA status during his arrest interview, according to DHS.

But his attorneys and advocates are standing by Montes’ account of the events and are continuing to press the lawsuit.

“Juan Manuel has been completely clear about at least two things since we’ve been talking to him: one, he’s been on DACA the whole time, which is true. And two, he knew that there were flashing red lights in his mind about leaving the United States, the country he considers home,” said Tumlin.

Montes is currently staying with extended family in Mexico. He doesn’t want his location revealed, according to Tumlin.

He misses his family and is sad about not being able to complete his education, according to his lawyer.

“I think the best outcome is first and foremost that Juan Manuel knows what happens to him, and that his story is corroborated and then we will swiftly seek his return home.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →