Elizabeth Thomas
Elizabeth Thomas was located after having gone missing with former teacher Tad Cummins for 38 days. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

In the days leading up to Tad Cummins’ trial, the family of kidnapped Tennessee teen Elizabeth Thomas said they were preparing for the “highly emotional” experience. The former schoolteacher was set to stand trial July 25 after being accused of kidnapping Elizabeth and committing sex crimes.

“It’s a highly emotional issue,” Elizabeth’s father, Anthony Thomas, told People Magazine Wednesday. “[Going to court] is going to be very difficult for everybody.”

Read: Elizabeth Thomas Did Not Go Willingly With Tad Cummins, Family Attorney Says

Cummins entered a plea of not guilty in May but remained jailed in Nashville on the grounds that he was a flight risk and a danger to the community. It remained unclear whether Elizabeth would testify against her former teacher, but her family said they would be attending the trial.

“We’ve spoken many times as a family,” her father told People. “[Going to court] is just something we’re going to have to go through.”

Cummins, now 51, and Elizabeth, now 16, went missing from Culleoka, Tennessee in March. An Amber Alert was issued for the teen after she left her home to go to a local restaurant and never returned. Police immediately honed in on Cummins, Elizabeth’s former teacher who was under investigation by school officials and police for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with her.

The two were not found for 38 days. Thanks to a tipster, Cummins and Elizabeth were eventually located in a remote part of Northern California. Details later emerged piece by piece, painting a picture that took Cummins and Elizabeth from Tennessee to Alabama, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and eventually, California.

In the aftermath of the alleged kidnapping, FBI agent Utley Noble testified that Cummins admitted he had sex with Elizabeth “most nights” during the 38 days they were on the run. His estranged wife, Jill Cummins, confirmed he told her about their sexual relationship.

“I said, ‘Well, did you sleep with her?’” she said in an interview with Inside Edition in April. “And he said, ‘Yes, I did.’ And I didn’t want any details.”

Cummins was immediately arrested and taken into custody when they were located. Should he be convicted of the charges, he could face up to life in prison. Cummins’ lawyers alleged Elizabeth was not held against her will and that she fled her home willingly with the 51-year-old. An attorney for the Thomas family, however, called the idea “amazingly absurd.”

“This is classing grooming and manipulation,” attorney James Whatley told People In May. “And I predict this case will be studied years in the future about how authority figures like Tad Cummins can mess up young children who believe their lies and are manipulated into doing things they would never do.”

Elizabeth was returned home to her family after Cummins' arrest. Her father told People Wednesday she was making progress thanks to the help of the family and counselors.

Read: Tad Cummins’ Daughter Breaks Silence On Alleged Elizabeth Thomas Kidnapping

“We are doing fine,” he said. “It’s just a process you have to go through. [We’re] being very supportive.”

The family reportedly held a quiet 16th birthday party for Elizabeth shortly after she was returned home.

“[She] needs love over anything else,” her older sister, Kat Bozeman, told People in May. “Love is what’s going to heal her. We’re going to show her we love her unconditionally.”