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tv   Nightline  ABC  April 15, 2017 12:37am-1:08am PDT

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, husband on the run. >> he betrayed our trust to the point that it's totally broken. >> the manhunt continues for a 50-year-old teacher and the 15-year-old student he's accused of kidnapping. what his wife and daughter saw of their relationship. >> she would come to him with her problems. >> the family making an emotional plea. >> no matter where you are, daddy, no matter what you've done, we want you to come home, we miss you so much. the trailer for "star wars: the last jedi" is finally here. its director and stars are breaking it down exclusively to abc news. why markham mill says it's possible luke skywalker could go to the dark side. >> it's time for the jedi to end. >> will princess leia make an
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appearance in the future film? >> i don't think of her in the past tense, she's so alive. and funny business? did "saturday night live" plagiarize a sketch about a clown service? >> what the hell! >> you abe the judge. first the "nightline 5.." are you one sneeze away from being voted out of the carpool? try zyrtec. it starts working hard at hour one and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day. stick with zyrtec. muddle no more. i'm joy bauer. i know probiotics help. digestive advantage. tougher than your stomach's harsh environment so it survives 100 times better. >> number one in just 60 seconds.
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good evening. thank you for joining us. tonight, the emotional interview with the family of the teacher on the run specced of kidnapping an underage students. his wife and two daughters thought they had an ideal family life. the illusion was shattered and they're pleaing for him to turn himself in. >> i go from feeling so hurt i can't even function. it's very selfish of him to have done this to us. >> reporter: to jo cummings, complete betrayal. her husband, 50-year-old tad cummings, accused of kidnapping student 15-year-old elizabeth thomas and having an inappropriate relationship with her. >> then sometimes i have this peace that comes from god. i do love him but i don't trust him anymore. he's totally betrayed me. >> reporter: he's been on the run from police for the last month. they were last seen shopping at this oklahoma walmart two days after they disappeared. >> no matter where you are,
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daddy, no matter what you've done, we just want you to come home, we miss you so much. >> reporter: tuesday cummings' wife and two daughters are speaking out exclusively to abc news in an interview with eva pilgrim. >> there's two sides. the world's heard her side of it. there's always be some on the other side of the amber alert. >> the amber alert, it's for both of them, he's a missing person just as much as she is. he's very important to a lot of people. >> when you realize that your husband of 30-plus years kidnapped a 15-year-old -- >> i think she went by her own choice, but i don't think she was old enough to make that choice. i don't think he forcefully took her. she was manipulated by him. >> reporter: jill says she thought she had a storybook 30-year marriage. but just a few months ago, police say tad was secretly searching "age of consent," and
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how to marry a teen. >> what was your marriage like? >> we were together all the time. we'd go to work, come home, eat together, do things with our family, go to church, go shopping. >> reporter: that is, until one day last month when jill came home to find a note left by her husband. >> tad, this is not you. >> reporter: she called the police. >> i found out that she was also missing and that was when i knew. that was the moment that i new. >> when you heard that she was missing, why did you immediately think they were together? >> because it made sense then. for the first time. >> did you realize all of a sudden that he had been lying about everything? >> at that moment, then i knew. that it was all a lie. >> reporter: jill says she thought tad was mentoring 15-year-old elizabeth. she had been spending time at their home prior to their disappearance. >> you said you thought he was helping elizabeth. >> right. >> what did you mean by that? >> she would come to him with
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her problems about her past. she always asked him, why do bad things happen to good people? he was trying to help her to work through those feelings and those problems. i think he was mentoring her and maybe just one bad decision started him off on a path he didn't mean to go on. >> you look at beth like a third daughter? >> yes. hard to believe now. >> why? >> that's just the way we felt. i mean, somebody we were helping, you know. >> reporter: his family painting a picture of a devoted christian father who now seems to have been living a double life. allegedly infatuated with this teenage student. >> he was always happy. >> was he really involved in your lives? >> we had a very close family, very happy upbringing. everything was perfect. we had a wonderful, perfect family. >> what they said i thought was not painting him into a dark place or a dark corner, trying to be very positive and open. all of those things i think are exactly the right things to try to hook him to say, look, you need to come back.
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>> reporter: the first signs of trouble happened months earlier. school officials began investigating the health science teacher after another student claimed to see them kissing in his classroom. cummings denied any wrongdoing but was later suspended. >> i didn't see this coming at all. you send your kids to school, you know -- you trust they're going to be all right there. >> he is a predator. she does not have any will of her own as we understand it. she is under his spell. and she's being controlled by him. >> reporter: ashley and erika last saw their father the weekend before he went on the run, allegedly taking 15-year-old elizabeth with him. >> he was at my house saturday night before they left. he came over to see our newborn. we just hung out on the couch and talked. just a normal night together. >> i work midnight, so he had watch mid son with my mom the day before. >> reporter: his former student, elizabeth thomas, was seen being dropped off early the morning of march 15th at a restaurant in columbia, tennessee.
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but before she left, her sister says elizabeth woke her up with a warning. >> she said, if i'm not back by 6:00, you need to come find me, call the cops. >> reporter: a short time later this security footage showing him filling his suv at a nearby gas station. days earlier he took out a $4,500 cash loan. sources telling abc news cummings researched camping and suvs and watched a tv show about living off the grid. hours after that gas station surveillance footage from monday, elizabeth thomas is declared missing. last clue, a cell phone ping from decatur, alabama. days after the pair turn up on video at a walmart in oklahoma city. >> the problem with that video is law enforcement didn't even know about the video till maybe two weeks after it was captured. so two weeks cold on a camera shot like that -- really puts you behind.
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because then where do you go from there? you're in the middle of oklahoma city, oklahoma. right in the middle of an interstate system that goes virtually all four directions. >> reporter: but the video does reveal small changes to their appearance. elizabeth's hair, darkened red. cummings' gray facial hair brown. investigators say the pair bought food, paying with cash. >> why walk into a walmart of all places? the average person knows walmart's got some of the better camera systems in the country. >> reporter: while authorities say they don't know where cummings was planning to go they say he packed warm weather clothes, shorts and t-shirts for the trip. after a month on the run, he likely will need a refill on his blood pressure medication. >> more than likely that if he goes into a pharmacy or a drugstore, it's going into that location that might get him caught. >> reporter: the former teacher now on tennessee's top ten most wanted list. >> what would you say to her family? >> i'm so sorry, to her family.
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i know they've got to be hurting and scared. and i'm just -- i wish i could fix it. >> reporter: the cummings family is hoping he will return. >> i hope that he realizes that we're still here and that it makes him realize that if he comes home, that he's not coming home to nothing. and that maybe it will make him decide to turn himself in. >> you just want him know you guys are still here? >> yes, for sure. >> yeah. next, the team behind "star wars": the last jedi" reveals whether princess leia will appear in future franchise films after this one.
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last jedi" finally here. the force is strong with this one. in an abc exclusive directors and stars reveal what we can expect from the newest installment of the juggernaut franchise. here's abc's paula faris. >> reporter: it's finally here. the long-awaited first look at "the last jedi," episode 8 in the "star wars" saga. the trailer pack the with exotic new worlds. epic space battles. the return of iconic heroes and villains. glimpses of heroine rae training with luke skywalker. >> breathe. just breathe. >> is that your voice? >> yes. >> are you speaking to rae? >> it's possible. >> i think there's a response in there, it sounds like it's my voice. >> light.
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darkness. >> is it you that's saying -- >> it's time for the jedi to end. >> it is. >> what has happened to you? >> well -- >> to reach this point? >> i think that's the only story point that's in the teaser. i can't really describe more. it was shocking to me to read what ryan had written. as i'm sure it will be for the audience. >> i think how "the last jedi" starts and the journey we go on is perhaps unexpected. >> do you make a turn to the dark side? >> it's possible. anything's possible. >> reporter: the first scene of the movie, produced by abc's parent company disney, picks up exactly where "the force awakens" left off. rae finds the elusive luke skywalker, who's gone into exile. >> literally a cliff hanger, i love that the metaphor, me standing on a cliff. >> when you guys read the script, were there big surprises in there even for you? >> yeah. i went to ryan's office and i was like, we node to have a talk
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about what's happening here. >> when i read, a, i told ryan, i fundamentally disagree with virtually everything you've decided about my character. but might an good sign, because i was really wrong about seven. i said, when i turn around, the audience is going to hoot and holler because it's such an obvious cheat. i didn't foresee john williams' incredible muse sxikt shots of dazy, the buildup to it all. i was never happier to be wrong. >> reporter: in the trailer, it appears luke mentors rae as his jedi trainee. a role reversal for the one-time student who's now become the master. director ryan johnson says it's not like the "star wars" mentorships we've seen in the past. >> there's definitely an element of mentorship and training that happens between the two of them. but it's not an exact mirror of training that we've seen before. >> you seem to be much more proficient with the lightsaber. >> i mean -- i was all right in
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"force awakens." >> she did a couple of lightsaber duels for dummies. >> everybody wants to know who you are, who you're from, where your parents are, will all that be answered? >> it's interesting because i didn't know -- mark was telling me i didn't know when darth vader said "i'm your father," people didn't believe it was true. it was interesting. i thought everyone was going to be that's been answered. but it hasn't. i think a lot of the questions are still being answered in "jedi." it's that thing of discovery. >> are we going to find out who her parents are? >> uh -- >> you don't have to tell me. >> it's something that is absolutely going to be addressed in the movie. >> it will be addressed. there won't be clarification? >> it depends on -- i can't say. i was about to say something. you almost got me. >> this is the circle of trust. >> is it? is it now? >> reporter: the trailer was released today at the fan event "star wars" celebration" in orlando, florida. >> do a chewy impression.
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>> do you have a crush on bb 8? >> featuring appearances from jedi royalty. >> markham mill! harrison ford! >> reporter: no reunion could be complete without honoring the beloved princess. >> she was a senator. she was -- played a part that was very smart. >> what the hell are you doing? >> somebody has to save our skins. >> reporter: there was a moving tribute to the late carrie fisher. her 24-year-old daughter billy lord took the stage in a leia-inspired dress in honor of her late mother. >>py mom used to say she never knew where princess leia ended and carrie fisher began. >> reporter: then she spoke her mother's most famous "star wars" lines. >> help me, obi-wan kenobi. you're my only hope. >> it's foolish to think i could bring him home. >> reporter: carrie fisher will be in it too, she completed
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filming before her dead. but questions remain about the character in the series films. >> i want him back. >> reporter: recently fisher's brother todd told "daily news confidential" that princess leia would appear in episode 9, a film that isn't even set to hit theaters until two years from now. >> he was probably confused. sadly, carrie will not be in nine. >> reporter: for markham mill, who started this journey with fisher 40 years ago, they were close. not just on the screen but in real life too. >> it leaves a terrible hole in the family that will never be filled. but i do know that she wouldn't want us to be consumed by grief. i still don't think of her in the past tense. she's so alive. >> she was such a big part of these "star wars" celebrations. >> of course. >> has it hit you on a different level that she's not here with you? >> yeah. because she made everything more fun. if she were next to me, she'd crash my interview, i'd crash
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hers. it was impossible to be around her and not have so much fun. >> reporter: this next generation of "star wars" actors clearly carrying on fisher's vivacity. john voyega reprising the role of finn. the last movie left him badly injured in a lightsaber duel. >> i'm in a suit in a medical facility because of the lightsaber scars. he's still going through recovery. >> reporter: joined by actress kelly marie tran, who plays a new character named rose. >> she's part of the resistance, she gets wrapped up in this insane adventure. >> there is a mission that needs to be accomplished and finn and rose go on an amazing adventure together. that in itself gives birth to new things. >> reporter: the limitless possibilities part of what's kept the "star wars" faithful
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hooked on the franchise for decades. >> may the force be with you. >> there's an infinite number of wonderful stories to be hold in this universe. >> it is such an emotional experience for these fans. >> it's wonderful. to be part of something that you know is going to be joyous, in a positive way, is an unusual phenomenon. >> reporter: for "nightline" i'm paula faris in orlando. next, plagiarism is no joke. why are comedians wondering if the recent "saturday night live" sketch could have been inspired by her work -- >> do you want me to stop and wait? >> no, i can see from here, go ahead, keep going. whether it's anniversary night or just another weeknight, there's viagra single packs for guys with ed. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain or adempas® for pulmonary hypertension. your blood pressure could drop to an unsafe level.
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comedy you've got to be able to take a joke. but you shouldn't actually take a joke. "saturday night live." hit with the not so funny accusation, potential plagiarism. comedian tignal tara, speaking out, responding to a clown sketch that aired on "snl" with
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host louis ck. an individual looking for cheering-up orders a clown to their home. >> am i early? >> no. >> no one else has shown up? >> uh-uh. >> reporter: her short film "clown service" was released in 2015. "snl's" sketch "birthday clown" appeared on the show last weekend. >> should we wait for everyone else to show up? >> no, it's just me. whenever you're ready. >> reporter: she released this statement to "the hollywood reporter." "while i don't know how all this actually happened i did find it extremely disappointing. i never gave anyone permission to use anything from my film. i think it's only right to defend my work and ideas and moving forward i plan to continue screening "clown service" with the joy and pride i always have," she continues that a writer and director who worked on her short film also worked on the "snl" sketch.
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"snl" has no comment regarding the statement. have a great easter weekend. whatever your tradition. at my mama's house that meant church and it still does. thank you for watching abc news. as always we're online at and our "nightline" facebook page. thanks for the company, america. good night.
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