(KEARNEY, Neb.) — Police in Nebraska said they had a "possible" sighting of 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas, the missing Tennessee teenager who was allegedly kidnapped by her former high school teacher last month.
"It is possible we had a spotting of the victim and suspect of a Columbia, TN Amber Alert in Kearney this evening," the Kearney Police Department said in a Facebook post early Monday.
The department shared images that appear to match the description of the teen and her alleged abductor, 50-year-old Tad Cummins, at a McDonald’s in Kearney, Nebraska, more than 900 miles west from of their home state of Tennessee.
The sighting has not been confirmed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The TBI last released surveillance images of the two at a Walmart in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on Friday. The footage was taken on March 15, two days after the teen was allegedly abducted.
The footage, which was the first confirmed sighting of the two since they went missing last month, made the Thomas family more hopeful for her safe return, according to her father, Anthony Thomas, who spoke with ABC News on Friday.
MEDIA: Here's a quick video clip of Tad Cummins & Elizabeth Thomas entering the Walmart in Oklahoma City on 3/15.https://t.co/tIsI94rT6a— TBI (@TBInvestigation) March 31, 2017
The possible sighting came as more than 100 people gathered in Thomas' hometown of Columbia, Tennessee, for a candlelight vigil on Sunday.
The event’s organizers said it wasn’t about mourning, but about praying and pleading for her safe return, according to ABC affiliate WKRN.
"We need you home because we love you and the house is empty and quiet without you. You were the one that made everybody happy and loved. You made the house really loved,” Elizabeth Thomas’s sister Ninita Thomas said to the crowd.
Elizabeth’s father also spoke at the event.
"Without her, the house is just too quiet. Please understand that she is not better off out there, she is better off here this community of people who care about her all of us,” her father said. “This community that knows and love her.”
An Amber Alert has been issued for Thomas and Cummins is wanted on allegations of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. The former teacher has been added to Tennessee’s ten most wanted list.
Cummins was fired from the Culleoka Unit School, where Elizabeth had been a student in his forensics class, shortly after the two vanished.
Cummins’ wife, Jill Cummins, filed for divorce on Friday, citing irreconcilable differences. She also alleged that her husband was “guilty of inappropriate marital conduct.”
Jill Cummins had previously begged her husband to come home and “do the right thing” while speaking at a TBI new conference in March, according to WRKN.
"This is not who you are. We can help you get through this," Jill Cummins said. "No matter how far you’ve gone or what’s happening right now, God’s grace is sufficient for you, and He wants you to come home.”
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