The family of missing teen Elizabeth Thomas has filed a new court order seeking to compel potential witnesses to testify under oath.
Thomas disappeared nearly four weeks ago. Investigators believe she was kidnapped by her teacher Tad Cummins. The TBI issued an AMBER Alert searching for Thomas on March 14.
The only confirmed sighting of Thomas and Cummins was in Oklahoma City on March March 15. After reviewing surveillance images form an Oklahoma City Walmart, TBI announced the confirmed sighting on March 31.
Thomas’ family said witnesses are not being forthcoming about what they know. They have now filed a petition in an effort to change that.
The family wants to interview potential witnesses under oath so that they have to tell the truth about what they know regarding Thomas and Cummins.
The family’s attorney has filed a long list in Maury County Chancery Court, but that list is sealed. But the family’s attorney has said they believe people in the community know more than they are letting on.
If the judge approves the petition, those potential witnesses would be court ordered to answer questions under oath.
In response to the filing, Thomas’ family’s attorney Jason Whatley sent the following statement to Nashville NBC-affiliate WSMV:
We are now facing four weeks into the abduction of Elizabeth Thomas. As it would be for any family in this situation, the process of this investigation has been frustrating. Perhaps the most concerning element has been the hesitancy of some persons to fully cooperate in sharing information that they know. As time goes on, the family is growing more and more desperate to formally examine all witnesses who have information that might assist in finding and rescuing her. The purpose of our petition as filed today will hopefully put an end to that hesitancy displayed by some and will help us, as the family, to methodically confirm facts that have been at times unclear. We believe Tennessee law permits us to do this through pursuing the concurrent goal of preparing for legal restraint and other legal remedies against Tad Cummins once he is caught and Elizabeth is home. Therefore, through the power and process of the Court, we intend to clarify and confirm the facts that led to Elizabeth's disappearance, including statements made by her or Tad Cummins, that might provide clues as to where they are. As directed by the Court, and in exploration of civil claims against Tad Cummins, we will be able to do this and satisfy the concurrent goals of gathering evidence to help find Elizabeth and also dealing with Tad Cummins once he is captured.
Let it be clear: We have brought this petition for no purpose except to provide a vehicle for gathering information. Also, the family wishes to praise law enforcement, including the Maury County Sheriff's Department, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, as well as the F.B.I., for their continued and tireless efforts to find Elizabeth. Our investigation is meant only to assist, not to detract from, what law enforcement has done and is doing. We also thank the media for its continued coverage of Elizabeth's story. We know that the most likely way this nightmare ends is that a good citizen sees this story through media coverage and then calls the authorities.
The Thomas family humbly asks for your continued prayers and diligence as we seek daily to bring Elizabeth home.
Whatley said its office is also conducting its own investigation into Thomas’ disappearance.