Man who cracked missing student and teacher case said the teen 'looked depressed'

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The man who led authorities to the 15-year-old missing student who vanished with her teacher opened up about the tense moments that led to the teen's safe return.

Griffin Barry, the caretaker for several cabins in Northern California, allowed Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas to stay the night in one of his properties, but quickly realized it was the pair who were wanted by police in a manhunt that has been underway for more than a month.

He called 911 to tell police.

Barry said he first met Cummins at a gas station the week before where the former teacher asked for directions and needed gas, saying they lost their home in a house fire and needed money, INSIDE EDITION reports.

"At first I thought they were on hard times and lost everything, then figured it out," he told reporters. "It was twisted."

Police came to the cabin early Thursday morning, and the caretaker honked his horn so Cummins would come out and they could avoid a hostage situation.

Barry said he hardly had any interaction with the teenager, saying "she looked depressed."

The teenager is said to be "healthy" and "safe."

Thomas and Cummins disappeared from their hometown in Tennessee on March 13 and were last seen at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma City just two days later.

They originally sought sanctuary in the Black Bear Ranch in Northern California, a commune whose slogan is "free land for free people," but they were rejected.

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