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Tennessee Teacher Arrested, 15-Year-Old Student Found Safe in Northern California

After five weeks on the run, a Tennessee teacher who kidnapped and fled with his 15-year-old student was arrested Thursday deep in the mountains of northern California, authorities said.

“I’m glad this is over,” 50-year-old Tad Cummins said after his arrest, according to Siskiyou County sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Gilley.

Elizabeth Thomas was found safe in a remote cabin in Cecilville, northwest of Redding. The pair spent one night in the cabin before the arrest, but they may have been in the area for about a week, Gilley said.

The cabin’s caretaker alerted law enforcement to their presence and helped them hatch a plan to draw Cummins from the residence unarmed and without Thomas, the cabin’s owner told CNN.

The arrest ends a nationwide manhunt that began on March 13, when Cummins fled with Elizabeth from their small town of Culleoka, Tennessee. Cummins face federal and state charges stemming from her disappearance.

But the search for answers is far from over.

“There aren’t words in the English language to describe the level of relief and elation experienced by the Thomas family,” said Jason Whatley, attorney for the family. “Now begins another hard chapter, but for now, we celebrate.”

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SOURCE: CNN, Holly Yan, Sara Sidner and Emanuella Grinberg