Teacher accused of kidnapping student asks wife's forgiveness in jailhouse call

Credit: Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Credit: Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

The wife of a Tennessee teacher who is accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old student and spending more than a month on the run with her is speaking out for the first time since her husband’s arrest last week.

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Tad Cummins, 50, was arrested April 20, more than a month after authorities said he kidnapped 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas and fled Tennessee. The pair was found unharmed in a cabin in rural northern California.

Cummins' wife, Jill Cummins, told "Inside Edition" that her husband called her from jail in the days after his arrest.

"It was very hard to hear his voice after all this time, not knowing if I was going to hear it again," she told “Inside Edition.” "But he told me he was sorry. He told me he loved me and to please forgive him.”

Jill Cummins filed for divorce from Tad Cummins, her husband of more than 30 years, citing irreconcilable differences, after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation identified him as Elizabeth’s suspected kidnapper.

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Jill Cummins said she was unable to respond in kind to her husband’s declaration of love.

“I, of course, went into a rage of, ‘Do you know what you've done to me? Do you know what you've done to your girls and your grandchildren?’” she told “Inside Edition.” “He pretty much just over and over said, ‘I'm sorry.’”

Jill Cummins said the call was the only one she was willing to answer from her husband, who has peppered her with phone calls since that conversation.

“I won’t let him hurt me like that again," she said. "I will not let him betray me like that again. I won’t give him the opportunity, ever again."

Authorities arrested Tad Cummins on state charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor as well as a federal charge of taking a minor across state lines to have sex. If convicted of the federal charge, he faces at least 10 years in prison, acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.