COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) – Elizabeth Thomas’ sister spoke for the first time since seeing her.
Kat Bozeman told WJBF’s sister station, News 2, that her 15-year-old sister still isn’t quite home. She says Elizabeth is in a mental health facility where she is being treated, so she spends a lot of time with a therapist while visitation with family & friends is limited.
After more than a month, Bozeman was reunited with her sister Elizabeth on Friday.
“What do you say in these circumstances? You want to ask so many things, but then you know that’s not what she needs. You’re speechless. You see them and you don’t know what to say, because she’s been through something very traumatic,” Bozeman told News 2.
She says it’s been an emotional few days, but her tears of sadness have turned joyful.
“It’s a roller coaster. Some days are good you see her more, some days are bad you see her less. So it’s a long, long road ahead of us.”
She says they haven’t discussed much about what happened over the more than a month that Elizabeth was missing with her former teacher, Tad Cummins.
“She told us she didn’t have access to telephone, internet, any electronic devices. There was not availability to food all the time, is the understanding. Obviously, we are really trying not to press her, because it’s really traumatic for her to remember all of these things,” Bozeman explained.
Elizabeth and Cummins were found at a remote cabin in northern California near the Oregon border, where he was captured Thursday.
“She was abducted and she’s grateful to be home. She is very happy. She’s just so happy to get food and coffee and showering.”
Bozeman says the family has a hard time hearing the details of where Elizabeth and Cummins stayed over the time and what evidence has been recovered.
“It’s traumatic for us. It’s traumatic for her. It’s just hard to hear and knowing, you know, they had no access to showers and bathrooms and they were eating very little. That’s just really traumatic.”
Elizabeth’s father, Anthony, spoke with ABC News where discussed the ups and downs his daughter was experiencing.
“Sometimes she’ll be happy and laughing and back to the same old girl, and sometimes she’ll be in a fetal position crying.”
The family is trying to focus on the positive as they all need time to heal.
“There is a long road ahead. Mental health is not like a broken bone that is healed in eight weeks.”
Bozeman says they don’t know when Elizabeth will be released to go home, and they are taking it day by day.
Cummins was taken into federal custody Friday morning and is expected to be arraigned on Monday morning.
He will remain in custody in Sacramento, California, until his return to Tennessee.
Friday afternoon, Mark Gwyn, the director for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said when asked if Cummins was helped by anyone, “It’s an ongoing investigation.”
Gwyn also added that he wants to maintain Thomas’ privacy, saying, “We can only imagine what she’s been through.”