Mental health expert discusses trauma surrounding disappearance of Summer Wells

Tennessee

KINGSPORT, Tenn (WJHL) — It’s been nearly a month since 5-year-old Summer Wells was last seen, and one mental health expert weighed in on the grievances Summer’s parents Candus Bly and Donald Wells say the family has faced.

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Nexstar’s News Channel 11 spoke with the senior vice president of children’s services with Frontier Health, Tim Perry, who said it’s normal that the family experiences feelings related to grief. “They will experience fear, insecurity, anger — a lot of the same things you would experience in grief.”

As for Summer’s three older brothers, Perry said the endless search could contribute to further stress and trauma.

“That presence of all these strangers, for the most part, and the complexities of all these individuals with different activities is very confusing and very frightening and very anxiety-provoking on behalf of the children.”

Summer’s mother, Candus Bly, spoke about her daughter’s disappearance in a June 28 interview, saying that these feelings have persisted among the boys as Summer remains missing.

“Her brothers are so devastated that they wake up every morning crying for their sister,” Bly said.

Another facet that can contribute to worsening mental health regarding the case includes the online rumors floating on social media. Perry said the negativity only adds to the problem.

“Those emotions at that heightened level often come out in negative forms, negative ways,” he said. “And people make assumptions, and people make projections without the data and the support to know the truth behind those assumptions.”

Instead of continuing to speculate and spread rumors on social media, Perry advises that the community band together and support the Wells family as they process the trauma.

“My advice is unite,” he said. “Come together as a support for one another, and recognize that although the family may be the nucleus need for support, the entire community needs that support.”


The TBI AMBER Alert reports Summer Moon-Utah Wells’ 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 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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