Editor’s Note: The Warren County Sheriff’s Office reported Thursday, March 30, 2023, Haliey has been located.
WARREN COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Two weeks have passed since 16-year-old Haliey Wells sent a text message saying she was staying with a friend and would only be gone a few days.
Haliey’s niece Chelsea Sheppard said that text message was the last time anyone heard from her. Several search efforts following her disappearance have left Haliey’s family with more questions than answers, and Sheppard said they are growing increasingly concerned.
“We just don’t know if she’s OK and that’s the hardest thing,” Sheppard said. “We just want to know she’s alive and well, and as more time goes on and nobody’s saying anything, that’s even more cause for concern because we feel at this point in time that she’s not OK.”
Haliey’s mother last saw her between the hours of 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on Wednesday, March 15 at her home on West Green Hill Road in McMinnville. At around noon, Haliey sent a text message to a family member saying she was having a difficult time dealing with her father’s death.
“She just said she was having a hard time and was needing a breather, that she was with a girlfriend, she was only going to be gone a couple of days and she’d be back home,” Sheppard said. “And that was two weeks ago.”
Several family members tried to call Haliey, but Sheppard said there was no answer. They also reached out to her friends. However, none of them had seen Haliey either. After a full day had passed, Sheppard said “everybody started to go into a panic.”
“When she wasn’t responding that’s when everybody started to really put two and two together, like no one, friends or family, could get ahold of Haliey,” Sheppard said. “She’s not the type to disappear with no word whatsoever.”
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office immediately began knocking on doors and searching for Haliey after her mother woke up to find her gone on March 15. Alexis Wells, another one of Haliey’s nieces, said detectives also tried to ping Haliey’s cell phone to see her last location.
However, they were unsuccessful.
“That means the phone is off,” Alexis said. “Whether that’s because it’s dead or she lost it, no one knows; and the fact that she hasn’t made an effort to find anyone with a phone to let someone know that she’s OK or come home is what’s most concerning.”
Sheppard said it’s clear Haliey didn’t intend to be gone for a long time because she didn’t take any money or essential items like a toothbrush. Haliey also does not have a driver’s license or passport, so her nieces believe someone had to have picked her up from her mother’s house.
“Where she lives is a remote location. It’s very rural,” Sheppard said. “It is a ways from most things, so she wouldn’t have walked.”
The only lead investigators have had so far has been on March 17, when Sheppard said Haliey’s phone briefly connected to Wi-Fi and they were able to see her location on Snapchat. The location was narrowed down to a specific address 42 miles away in Baxter, Tennessee.
While the homeowner had not seen Haliey, Sheppard said he did tell investigators about a creek near his address that is commonly used as a hang out spot. Since then, the sheriff’s office has searched multiple counties where Haliey may have had ties, but there have been no other leads.
“We’re all still remaining positive, and we don’t want anyone to be in trouble. We just want to know that she’s OK,” Alexis said. “Every one of us — me, Chelsea, her aunt, her grandma, her mom, everyone has been out looking for her day in and day out.”
Haliey is 5’2″ tall, weighs about 100 pounds, and has hazel eyes and freckles. When she was last seen, Haliey had dark shoulder length hair with purple coloration, but Sheppard said she often changes the color of her hair.
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Anyone who has information is asked to contact Investigator Calvin Hammond at the Warren County Sheriff’s Office at 931-259-7040, the Warren County E-911 non-emergency number at 931-668-7000, or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND. Callers may remain anonymous.
“We just need to know something because not knowing anything is extremely painful,” Sheppard said. “We have been up it feels like for weeks now, we’ve done everything we can think of. We’ve driven to every place, talked to every person, and we are just at a complete loss.”