Abducted Tenn. girl’s recovery ‘just beginning’


Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Tenn.

A 15-year-old Tennessee student who was allegedly kidnapped by her teacher and taken to California is back home, a lawyer for the girl’s family says.

The girl is being evaluated and treated by mental health experts specializing in trauma, lawyer Jason Whatley said in a statement Friday.

“There is no doubt that she has suffered severe emotional trauma and that her process of recovery is only just beginning,” Whatley said.

He said the girl is in a safe location with friends and family and is now resting.

Authorities credit the caretaker of a remote northern California property for helping police find her and arrest her alleged abductor, fired teacher Tad Cummins. After Griffin Barry became suspicious of two people he initially thought were in distress, his tip led police to the teacher accused of kidnapping his student and taking her on a 2,500-mile cross-country journey.

Barry said the pair told him their names were John and Joanna, and they needed money for food, gas and a place to stay, ABC News Good Morning America reported Friday. But Barry, 29, said he became suspicious when the older man tried to keep the teen away.

After seeing a photo of Cummins in an Amber Alert, Barry said he made the connection and called authorities.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office sent a tactical unit to the cabin Thursday morning. Cummins was arrested after he came out of the cabin with the girl walking behind him, the sheriff’s office said.

Cummins was cooperative with law enforcement, Siskiyou Sheriff Jon E. Lopey told the Associated Press. He said the girl was at times “laughing, crying and acting stoic” after police found her at the remote cabin.

Cummins, the federal complaint says, is charged with taking a minor across states lines to have sex.

The girl’s father has told news media he believes his daughter was brainwashed.

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