Columbia community awaiting arrival of Elizabeth Thomas - WSMV News 4

Columbia community awaiting arrival of Elizabeth Thomas

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Signs and balloons line the streets of Columbia in an effort to welcome Elizabeth Thomas home. (WSMV) Signs and balloons line the streets of Columbia in an effort to welcome Elizabeth Thomas home. (WSMV)
COLUMBIA, TN (WSMV) -

While the family of Elizabeth Thomas anxiously awaits her arrival, the community in Columbia has balloons and welcome signs ready.

It has been over 30 days since the 15-year-old left her hometown with her former teacher, Tad Cummins.

"I can't wait. I can hardly wait to see her," said her father, Anthony Thomas.

On the square in Columbia, you can see green balloons and a welcome sign.

"The community has been behind Elizabeth and her family the whole time. We just thought it would be a great thing to show the support for the family," said Columbia business owner Cory Muehlbauer.

"I was happy and relieved for both families - not just one - both of them. It's a sad situation," said resident Margaret Ellis.

Chandler Anderson, who used to work with Cummins, raised a $10,000 reward for information leading to their whereabouts.

"I think there has been a huge sigh of relief from the community as a whole because now we know that this girl is safe. As the days progressed, I think everyone became more and more concerned that something terrible was going to happen," Anderson said.

Cummins is facing new charges. The Thomas family's lawyers are ready to handle what comes next.

"We do enter a different phase now ... The mood of the family is for justice. The family is thankful that the acting U.S. attorney for this area has brought charges. We believe that's appropriate," said attorney Jason Whatley.

The community is happy they can now take down the green bows knowing the young girl behind them will soon be safe with her loved ones.

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