The wife of a teacher accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old student has revealed the note her husband left behind when he took off with the teen.
Speaking to Inside Edition exclusively, Tad Cummins' estranged wife Jill has exposed the contents of the note for the first time.
"I'm getting away to clear my head of all this crap. I love you. Please don't call the police. They'll just think I’m guilty and I’m not. I'm so sorry," the note read.
He even signed it with a heart.
“I really felt like mentally he had a heart time dealing with all this stress,” Jill Cummins told Inside Edition as she fought back tears.
She learned the shocking truth from police when she reported him missing the following day.
“They said, 'We have something to tell you. Elizabeth is also reported as missing,' and that was the very moment I realized that's when I knew something was going on between the two of them,” she said.
Tad Cummins, 50, vanished with Elizabeth Thomas on March 13. After five weeks, they were found at a remote cabin in Cecilville, Calif., after a tipster recognized them and called authorities.
Thomas was reunited with her family and Cummins was arrested. He appeared in court in Sacramento on Monday, and faces one federal count of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in sexual activity across state lines.
“I won't let him hurt me like that again! I will not let him betray me like that again! I won't give him the opportunity — ever again,” Jill said. “My daughters are hurt so bad. We had grandchildren that we had to tell this to that it has affected greatly. That really hurts me.”
Tad faces a minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, if convicted. Jill revealed she and her husband spoke after his arrest.
“Tad called me from jail,” she said as her voice cracked with emotion. “It was very hard to hear his voice after all this time not knowing if I was going to hear it again. But he told me he was sorry. He told me he loved me and to please forgive him.”
The first thing she said to him was, “How could this happen? Why would you do this to us? Why would you abandon me? Why would you leave with her?
"He kept saying 'I love you,'" she said. And I said, 'I’m sorry but I’m not going to say that back.' I of course went into a rage of, 'Do you know what you've done to me? Do you know what you've done to your girls and your grandchildren?' He pretty much just over and over said, 'I’m sorry.'"
Jill said she also confronted her husband with those disturbing allegations that he filled a prescription for the male enhancement drug Cialis and lived with the teen for several days in this love nest at a commune in California.
“I said, ‘Well, did you sleep with her?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I did.’ And I didn't want any details but I knew the truth. I just wanted to hear it from him to me. And I told him I probably wouldn't be answering the phone anymore,” she said.
When questioned whether she asked her husband if he was in love with the student, Jill said she “didn’t want to talk about that” because “it is too hard.”
Tad Cummins is charged with kidnapping but his wife said that she was told by her husband that Thomas went with him willingly and could have left at any time.
“I told him I understand, but she is a child and you are a 50-year-old man and that's not right. She didn't have a choice whether or not to go with you. He says she did have a choice,” Jill said.
A lawyer representing Thomas told Inside Edition in a statement that the teen was brainwashed into running off with her teacher, calling him a "classic predator."
He was suspended in January over allegations that he kissed Thomas at school. His wife stood by him at the time, telling Inside Edition that when she learned of his suspension, “I thought he'd been accused of something he didn't do.”
Another insult to his family was that Tad had taken off in Jill’s car, leaving her stranded at work.
“Finally after not getting a hold of him, my youngest daughter took me to the house, came and picked me up because I couldn't drive his Jeep because it's a stick shift and I didn't know how to drive it,” she said.
Jill and Tad were just teenagers when they were married in 1985. They tied the knot on Jill’s 18th birthday — her first summer out of high school.
Read: Man Who Cracked Missing Student and Teacher Case Says Teen 'Looked Depressed'
“Everything was perfect. A loving Christian household,” she said.
Their Facebook page was adorned with posts like: “I love us!” and poignant images that evoke mixed emotions for Jill Cummins now.
“It's like that's a different Tad! It's a different person from the one who did this,” Jill said, “When I look at those it's good memories and it's like a death has happened because that person would never have done this to me!”
He has not entered a plea. He's expected to be transported to federal court in Tennessee in the coming days.