Captured Amber Alert suspect: 'I'm glad this is over'

A former Tennessee high school teacher charged with kidnapping one of his former students is set to face a judge for the first time on Friday.

A former Tennessee high school teacher accused of kidnapping his 15-year-old student is in federal custody as of Friday afternoon, NBC News reports.

Tad Cummins, 50, is headed to Sacramento and his court hearing is expected Monday, according NBC News correspondent Joe Fryer.

Authorities arrested Cummins in a remote part of northern California on Thursday. Elizabeth Thomas, 15, was also recovered safely.

Thursday's developments brought to an end a month long nationwide search after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) issued an Amber Alert for Thomas on March 14.

“This is a huge success for the Amber Alert program here in the state of Tennessee,” said TBI spokesperson Josh DeVine on the TODAY Show Friday morning. “It’s a great example nationally of the power of the public.

“This is why we have the Amber Alert system, so when we have a situation like this with a missing child in imminent danger, the public knows exactly what to do.”

Watch the TODAY Show’s full story: Missing Tennessee student found safe in California

Cummins faces a federal charge for crossing state lines and charges in Tennessee for aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. 

“Every indication is that Elizabeth Thomas is doing just fine physically. However, there are still a lot of questions that we have,” DeVine said. “Obviously, we want to make sure that she’s getting the best care, and make sure that across the board she’s in the best state possible before she gets home to Tennessee.”

Authorities said Thomas would be returning to Tennessee on a TBI aircraft.

"Right now she is literally enroute," said attorney Jason Whatley on Friday morning. "I don't want to disclose yet when she's going to be here because obviously, our goal is to seclude Elizabeth with her family."

DeVine said he did not know if Cummins was talking with investigators in California.

Cummins told police, "I'm glad this is over," according to the TODAY Show.

Related: Tad Cummins faces federal charges

More: Cabin caretaker called in tip about Tad Cummins

The headline of the Daily Herald newspaper in Columbia, Tenn., read “BUSTED” with Cummins’ mugshot on Friday morning.

Cummins worked as a teacher at Culleoka Unit School, where he taught Thomas.

The school had a message on its welcome sign on Friday morning reading, "welcome home Elizabeth."

© 2017 NBCNEWS.COM


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