HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The mother of missing five-year-old, Summer Wells, filed last year for a protective order against her husband, Donald Wells, stating in court documents that she was “afraid for my children and myself.”
Tuesday marked one week since the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an Endangered Child Alert for Summer, upgrading that the next day to an AMBER Alert. She was last seen June 15, walking near her home in the Beech Creek community of Hawkins County.
An arrest warrant obtained Tuesday morning by News 2 states a Hawkins County deputy had responded Oct. 14, 2020 to the home where Donald Wells lived with his wife and four children, including Summer, on Ben Hill Road in Rogersville for a report of a domestic assault.
As the deputy arrived, he said he saw a man, later identified as Wells, behind the wheel of a white GMC Sonoma that was traveling away from the residence.
The deputy said he spoke with Wells’ wife, who explained her husband came home drunk and accused her of having an affair. At one point, Wells pushed his wife down, injuring her knee, then punched himself in the face multiple times and left the residence, according to the warrant.
The report states the GMC Sonoma pulled back into the driveway and the deputy could hear Wells’ family members “fear for his return.” One person reportedly stated that there was a firearm in the GMC.
The Hawkins County deputy stopped Wells in the driveway and said he smelled strongly of alcohol and was stumbling. Wells, a felon out of Utah, told the deputy there was a black pistol in his glovebox and that he “had some to drink tonight,” according to the warrant.
Wells was arrested and booked into the Hawkins County jail on multiple charges, including domestic assault, possession of a handgun while under the influence and unlawful possession of a weapon.
The Hawkins County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office confirmed Wells pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of a handgun while under the influence, but added the domestic assault and unlawful possession of a weapon charges were dropped in April.
In an emergency protective order filed Oct. 15, 2020, Summer’s mother wrote of Wells, “He drinks and throws things am afraid of being hurt. He is abusive [physically] and [mentally toward] me. I am afraid for my children and myself.”
She went on to write that her mother stayed in a camper on the property and feared Wells would hurt her, as well.
In the filing, Summer’s mother asked for temporary custody of all four of the couple’s children, as well as for Wells to “move out immediately.”
Court documents show Summer’s mother chose to dismiss the petition four days later on Oct. 19.
Another warrant obtained by News 2 states the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol had also responded to the home on Aug. 13, 2001, where the residence was searched and Wells was found hiding in a storage room.
That time, Wells was arrested for a parole violation out of Utah and charged with being a fugitive from justice.
The agency said they have received 221 leads and have covered 4.6 square miles amid the search for the missing five-year-old girl.
The TBI AMBER Alert reports Summer’s appearance as follows:
- Age: 5
- Sex: Female
- Race: White
- Hair: Blonde Eyes: Blue
- Height: 3′
- Weight: 40 lbs.
- NCIC: M476287498
- Missing From: Rogersville, Tennessee
- Missing Since: June 15, 2021
Anyone with information on Summer’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office at 423-272-7121 or the TBI at 800-TBI-FIND.