Stephenie Woods was beyond exhausted. She’d just had a c-section a week earlier, when she gave birth to her daughter, Abby. So Stephanie laid down on her couch for a nap. Abby was asleep in her crib, and Stephanie’s one-year-old son, Conner, was in his playpen. Stephenie woke to a stranger at her door. The woman was Shannon Torrez. She told Stephenie that her car had broken down. Could she use her phone? Could she use her bathroom? Stephenie was groggy and taken off guard. Bewildered, she agreed to help the woman. But Shannon wasn’t there for Stephenie’s phone. She was there for her baby.
Then Kristin tells us about Elizabeth Thomas. In the fall of 2016, 15-year-old Elizabeth was at a particularly vulnerable time in her life. She and her siblings had been homeschooled their whole lives by an abusive mother. The kids eventually made the brave decision to call Child Protective Services on their mother, and she was removed from the home. This meant that at 15, Elizabeth would enter public school for the first time. It was a rocky transition, but her health teacher, Tad Cummins made it better. He took a special interest in her. He cared for her. At least, it seemed that way at first.
And now for a note about our process. For each episode, Kristin reads a bunch of articles, then spits them back out in her very limited vocabulary. Brandi copies and pastes from the best sources on the web. And sometimes Wikipedia. (No shade, Wikipedia. We love you.) We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the real experts who covered these cases.
In this episode, Kristin pulled from:
The 20/20 episode, “From Classroom to Captive”
“‘The devil won, my dad freaked out,’ daughter of Tad Cummins pens letter before sentencing,” by Caitlyn Shelton for News Channel 9
“Teen kidnapped by former Maury County teacher Tad Cummins settles suit for $650,000,” by James Bennett for the Columbia Daily Herald
“Tad Cummins sentenced to 20 years in prison for taking a teenage student from home for sex,” by Adam Tamburin for The Tennesseean
“Tad Cummins’ wife files for divorce amidst Elizabeth Thomas Amber Alert,” by Natalie Neysa Alund for USA Today Network
“Tad Cummins sentencing: Read the teen victim’s statement to teacher who took her for sex,” on The Tennessean
In this episode, Brandi pulled from:
“Shannon Torrez” episode Snapped
“MO Newborn Abducted Day of Stillbirth” NBC14 News
“Kidnapped Baby Found” ABC News
“Franklin County woman sentenced in throat slashing and kidnapping” by Betsy Taylor/The Associated Press, The Columbia Missourian
“Woman Gets 30 Years For Newborn Abduction” by The Associated Press, CBS News