The mother of the 15-year-old Tennessee girl who disappeared with her teacher is speaking out.
“I can't eat. I can't sleep. I'm scared to death,” Kimberly Thomas, the mom, said in her first interview.
She hasn't seen her daughter Elizabeth in over a year. She's free on bail awaiting trial on five charges of neglect and child abuse, and was ordered to have no contact with her daughter.
Court documents allege that Elizabeth was beaten, thrown down the basement stairs and forced by her mom to get naked in front of several other people.
“I am not guilty of those,” Kimberly insisted in the interview with WTVF.
She claims she actually saw Elizabeth and the teacher, Tad Cummins, out together last Christmas, but because of the court order banning her from contact with Elizabeth, she was afraid to intervene, she said.
“If I would have broke the law, I could have stopped it,” she said.
She believes Elizabeth thinks she's in love with Cummins — and she's appealing to him to send her daughter home.
“I don't believe she feels she is being hurt. OK, but she's 15. She doesn't know any better and she is being hurt and damaged,” she said.
There was a reported sighting of Cummins and Elizabeth at a convenience store near a beach in Corpus Christie, Texas on Thursday, but authorities have not been able to substantiate it.
It's the first reported sighting since they left Columbia, Tennessee, 11 days ago. Though unconfirmed, it's heightening fears they may be headed to Mexico.