The father of a 15-year-old girl who was found with a teacher after being missing for more than a month has said he believes she was brainwashed.
Speaking on Good Morning America, he also said his daughter, who cannot be named for legal reason, will need therapy and her family will ensure she gets the help she needs.
A teacher at her Tennessee high school, 50-year-old Tad Cummins, faces state charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor as well as a federal charge of taking a minor across state lines to have sex.
Cummins surrendered to police on Thursday near a remote cabin in Cecilville, California.
Acting US Attorney Jack Smith said that if convicted of the federal charge, he faces at least 10 years in prison.
The girl was apparently healthy and unharmed, but authorities say their main concern is her emotional and mental state.
Jason Whatley, a lawyer for the girl’s family, said: “The family is absolutely elated beyond words that this part of the ordeal is coming to an end.”
The end of the nationwide manhunt came after authorities received a tip-off on Wednesday night that the pair may have taken up residence in the woods in Siskiyou County, perhaps for more than a week.
The remote, mountainous area has limited mobile phone service and the terrain is difficult to traverse. Snow is still on the ground in some places.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it has worked tirelessly to trace the pair for the past five weeks, looking into more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states.
Their disappearance on March 13 came after Cummins was investigated by the school system when another student reported seeing the then-married teacher kiss the girl.