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Tennessee state investigators shot down a report Thursday that Tad Cummins, the former Tennessee teacher believed to have kidnapped his 15-year-old former student, Elizabeth Thomas, had been spotted on video in the Memphis, Tennessee, area.
A Shelby County sheriff's spokesman told NBC News that Cummins was positively identified in surveillance video recorded at a Shell gas station in Collierville, about 30 miles east of Memphis, at 1:30 p.m. ET.
But about an hour later, Josh DeVine, a spokesman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation — which has final say in making such determinations — said the agency had determined that it was a false alarm.
Cummins, 50, is charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexual conduct in the disappearance of Elizabeth, who attends Culleoka Unit School in Maury County, near the Alabama border, on March 13.
They have been the subjects of a nationwide search since then after Tennessee authorities said they were deeply concerned "about his intentions for her."
Cummins' wife, Jill, pleaded with him for a second time Sunday to release Elizabeth and turn himself in.
"You know you can't hide forever," she told NBC News. "For your sake and for Beth's sake, please go to the police or please just drop Beth off somewhere safe."
Cummins was suspended from Culleoka Unit School, south of Nashville, in February after he disobeyed an order from school administrators that barred Elizabeth from his classroom. In January, a student reported seeing Cummins kissing her.
Cummins' wife, Jill, pleaded with him Sunday to release Elizabeth and turn himself in.
"You know you can't hide forever," Jill Cummins said in an interview with NBC News. "For your sake and for Beth's sake, please go to the police or please just drop Beth off somewhere safe."