The bureau's Amber Alert indicated she may have been kidnapped by 50-year-old Tad Cummins, Elizabeth's former teacher at Culleoka Unit School in Maury County. But the district said it was unable to confirm from available evidence that the kiss occurred.
A lawyer for Elizabeth Thomas' father said the teen's alleged abductor is armed, risky and "obviously a man who is not in control of his faculties". Authorities also believe Cummins is armed with two handguns.
It was January 23 when one of Elizabeth's schoolmates reported that as she was walking into Cummins' classroom she saw Elizabeth and Cummins kissing, according to a January 30 school district investigative report. "We just don't want to go on without you", he said.
Since issuing the AMBER Alert on March 14, the TBI has received too few leads, and none have produced any credible sightings of Cummings or Thomas.
"She was the one that really completed the family and made everything better", said her sister.
"We are going to get her back". "The entire town is looking out for her right now". "She stated students hang out in his classroom a lot".
Devine said even though it has been a week, they remain hopeful. Cummins is now listed on the TBI's Top Ten Most Wanted list.
"I'm not asking him to turn himself in".
Whatley wrote in his February 6 letter that since that February 1 call, Elizabeth had told her father she still had a class with Cummins, and her phone history indicated the two were still in contact. He says the district actually waited 14 days before they suspended Cummins, and it wasn't until they sent the district a letter of concern.
Cummins was sacked from his teaching job last week over allegedly inappropriate behavior with the teen.
The school district did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.
Later that afternoon, Thomas and Cummins were about 80 miles away in Decatur, Alabama, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials said they suspect.
Cummins' wife, Jill, attended the press conference alongside deputies and pleaded for her husband to surrender. "I had no idea my husband was involved in any of this".
A friend dropped off the teen Monday at a restaurant in Columbia, Tennessee, near the high school, law enforcement authorities said; the restaurant is about 45 miles south of Nashville. "Please help us bring her home".
"Having now been on the run for more than five days, Cummins may have taken her anywhere", the bureau said.