'We aren’t giving up': Tennessee officials vow to find 5-year-old Summer Wells

Summer Wells (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

For more than two weeks, officials with nearly four dozen agencies have turned over a northeast Tennessee town for a missing 5-year-old girl. The search, at times dangerous when not strenuous, has covered some of the roughest terrains in extreme heat but has not yielded any clues of the little girl's disappearance.

Summer Moon-Utah Wells was last seen at her home in the Beech Creek community of Hawkins County, Tennessee on June 15. That community is located along the Interstate 81 corridor just over 70 miles northeast of Knoxville or 15 miles southwest of Kingsport, Tennessee. Her disappearance triggered a statewide Amber Alert the following day.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said they have received over 715 tips, but so far none have led them to Summer. In a tweet Thursday afternoon, the TBI wrote in part:

"Summer Wells has now been missing from the Beech Creek community in Hawkins County for two weeks and two days. We aren’t giving up."


Summer Wells

Meanwhile, FOX News is reporting both of Summer's parents have criminal records.

Don Wells, Summer's father, has been convicted of multiple violent felonies and served prison time for convictions involving drugs and burglaries in Arkansas, Utah, and Texas. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he was cited for numerous parole violations.

Summer’s mother, Candus Bly, also has a criminal record in the state of Wisconsin, most recently a guilty plea on misdemeanor domestic abuse charges in 2003.

Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson had previously stated he didn't believe Don Wells' criminal history played into the case. He said Summer lives with her parents and three siblings at their home.

The parents told local media they believed their daughter had been lured outside and abducted, but no evidence has been found to confirm or rule it out.


(Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

This week, about a five-mile radius has been searched by air, foot, and dive teams. Some of that area includes steeply inclined woods and overgrown pastures and fields. The search has since been scaled back to specialized teams searching areas of interest along with the continued investigation. The TBI is asking anyone who may have been in the area on June 15 to please contact them.

Summer is described by investigators as being 3-feet tall, weighing about 40 pounds, with blonde hair, and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing gray pants and a pink shirt. She is believed to be barefoot and her hair is now shorter than photos released by the TBI. She is believed to have wandered away from her home, but what happened next is anyone’s guess.

Anyone who sees Summer is asked to call 911 immediately. Anyone with any information about her whereabouts is asked to call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND or the Hawkins County Sheriff's Office at 423-272-7121.


Summer Wells (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

This story is being reported out of Atlanta

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