Summer Wells investigation remains ‘active and ongoing,’ 3 weeks after disappearance

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL/WKRN) — It’s now been just over three weeks since five-year-old Summer Wells was reported missing from her home in the Beech Creek community of Hawkins County.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has received just under 840 tips but none have led to the little girl. The last on-camera update from investigators was on June 24. A few days later, on June 27, the search was officially scaled back.

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Another news conference is not expected unless there is a significant development, but Tuesday a TBI spokesperson said, “Our investigation into the circumstances leading to Summer’s disappearance remains active and ongoing.”

Investigators are still looking for the driver of a red or maroon Toyota Tacoma with a full bed ladder rack that was in the area around the time Summer disappeared. The TBI stresses that the driver is a potential witness, not a suspect.

Incident Commander Tim Coup said the reward fund for Summer is now more than $37,000.

Since her disappearance, Summer Wells has touched the lives of many in the community and beyond the Tri-Cities. One man in Kingsport organized a prayer circle for the little girl and her family.

“God put this on my heart to bring the community together and pray as a team. I know people on Facebook have been praying too but I just don’t feel that’s enough,” said Timmy Etherton, who organized the circle. “I also want to pray for her family as well. Just pray for Candus, and the boys and Donald because they need it too, just as Summer does.”

Summer’s mother, Candus Bly, grandmother, two of her older brothers, and a family friend were the only ones in attendance. Her family did not want to be interviewed but said they are thankful for all of the prayers and support.

“The family, they need that support…a lot of negativity has been said and it affects the mother, the father, and the children and we just want to focus on getting Summer back. That’s the main thing,” said family friend, David Dotson. “From speaking with Candus and Don, the boys…obviously they just want Summer back and they just want her safe…returned back and just keep on praying.”

After three weeks, a scaled-back search, and no new information, faith is getting them through.

“We’re just so thankful for their diligent efforts and everything and we know that they’re continuing to search for Summer…even though they have pulled back, I know that they haven’t let up,” said Dotson. “Our faith in Christ is strong and we just won’t give up hope until she’s found.”

The prayer circle was on Facebook live and several people from out of state joined in.

“We all should come together because it says in the Bible, in Matthew 18:20, Jesus said himself where two or three are gathered in his name, there he is also,” said Etherton. “I wanted to come together as a body of believers because God is in control of this and God has plans that we don’t see.”

Etherton plans to host another prayer circle sometime next week. He hopes more churches and people can become involved.

On Wednesday, June 16, TBI upgraded the previously announced Endangered Child Alert to a statewide AMBER Alert for Summer at 11:08 a.m. EST because of “new information and growing concern.”

  • 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

Summer Moon-Utah Wells was reportedly last seen Tuesday, June 15 walking near her home on Ben Hill Road in the Beech Creek community, wearing a pink shirt and gray shorts.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office at 423-272-7121 or the TBI at 800-TBI-FIND.

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