Tennessee missing girl Summer Wells’ dad tells local newspaper he doesn’t expect to see her alive

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Tennessee investigators have received roughly 1,000 tips in connection with the disappearance of 5-year-old Summer Wells from her Rogersville home last month.

But the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office told Fox News Tuesday that none of the leads has produced any results.

Summer's dad, Don Wells, told the Kingsport Times-News Monday that he doesn’t expect to see his daughter alive.

"We’ve had several people sneaking around there, but we’ve had them sneaking around at night," Wells told the paper, speaking of his 11-acre property on Ben Hill Road. "We’ve never had somebody up there at 5:30 in the afternoon that we know of. They didn’t come up the driveway. They came up a dog trail from the woods. The [police K-9] dog that they used, that’s where the scent took them. Down through the woods, not the driveway. At Ben Hill Road is where the dog’s scent ended."

Investigators are still looking for a red pickup truck, possible a late 1990s Toyota, that may have been in the area where Summer went missing on June 15. It had full-sized ladder racks and white buckets in the bed.

Summer's disappearance also prompted county leaders to look at how they can improve their preparedness in case something like this happens in the future.


Lawmakers are also pushing back against reports that the massive but fruitless search and rescue placed a "burden" on the sheriff’s office or budget reserves. That’s a misconception, according to Hawkins County Commissioner Jason Roach.

"I wouldn't support ending a search with credible leads, if we had them, because of a financial shortfall," he told Fox News Tuesday night. "But that's not part of that conversation at all."

He said the county habitually overestimates its expenditures and underestimates tax revenue every year, giving it flexibility to shift funds in emergency situations, like the little girl’s disappearance.

Summer is about 3 feet tall and weighs around 40 pounds. She was last seen wearing gray pants, a pink shirt and may have been barefoot. She has close-cropped blonde hair and blue eyes.

Neighbors and other area residents and businesses are being asked to check their home security and trail cameras for any evidence that may help locate Summer.

Investigators say the circumstances surrounding her disappearance have yet to be determined – but they said they were looking into "all possibilities."

Her parents, Don Wells and Candus Bly, told local media they believe that she was lured out of their rural home and taken.

Wells and Bly have not responded to Fox News’ attempts to reach them for comment.

Both have criminal records in other states, and they’ve reportedly taken and passed lie detector tests in connection with Summer’s disappearance.


Authorities have not publicly announced any person of interest or suspect in the case, and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation assistant special agent in charge Shelly Smitherman said that's been "frustrating" for law enforcement in a video shared to Twitter Tuesday.

"Typically on an AMBER Alert…within a couple of days we have a tip or lead or have an idea if they’ve been abducted, if they maybe left into the woods," she said. "Somebody saw something that leads up hopefully to get an answer to where the child went or if they were taken. We’re going to have some tip or lead. And that is the frustrating part for law enforcement in this case and the public."

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