Summer Wells, what happened to her?
The search is on for a missing five-year-old girl summer, whose parents allege she vanished.
In the basement of her family’s home in rural east Tennessee, a 5-year-old girl dressed in grey slacks and a pink shirt, her blonde hair chopped short, returned from gardening with her mother and grandma to play with her toys.
That was the last time she was seen.
Summer Wells vanished on the evening of June 15, prompting a weeks-long manhunt in Hawkins County’s rough, hilly terrain. Hundreds of tips to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have proven fruitless, and some members of her family have given up hope of ever finding her alive.
TIMELINE OF ACTIVITIES
On June 15, 2021, at 5:30 p.m.: Summer was growing flowers with her mother and grandmother about 20 feet from her family’s house on Ben Hill Road in the unincorporated neighborhood of Beech Creek, her father told The Times-News early in the investigation.
She walked inside and informed her three older brothers she wanted to play with her toys in the basement, according to reports. Summer was unable to be seen when her mother, Candus Wells, arrived inside a short time later.
Summer was reported missing to the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office around 6:30 p.m. on June 15, 2021.
The Tennessee State Bureau of Investigation issued an endangered child alert for Summer at 12 a.m. on June 16, 2021.
TBI changed the endangered kid notice to an Amber Alert shortly after 11 a.m. on June 16, 2021. When there is a worry for a kid’s safety, an endangered child alert is issued, but Amber Alerts are designated for “the most serious of missing children instances” where officials feel a youngster is in “imminent danger.”
On June 16, 2021, at 4 p.m., Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office and TBI officials conducted the first of three news conferences to update the public on search operations. Before the end of the day, about 30 suggestions had been received.
On June 17, 2021, at 1 p.m.: “Steep and treacherous terrain,” including “thick canopy coverage” and ground cover, hampered search attempts, according to search personnel. They were also having trouble communicating due to poor cell phone service.
On June 17, 2021, at 40 p.m., investigators began requesting that anybody living on or around Ben Hill Road check their trail cameras, surveillance footage, and outbuildings for any signs of Summer.
Summer’s father came to the media for the first time on June 18, 2021, claiming that he was at work when Summer went missing.
“When I came home, I went down to the bottom of the property and saw all my neighbors and stuff scouring the woods looking for her, and I recognized right then and there that she wasn’t there,” Wells told The Times-News. “I knew she was gone right then and there – she would never leave there on her own.” Someone had kidnapped her.”
TBI released photos of Summer’s house and land where she was last seen on June 19, 2021.
TBI reported receiving at least 221 tips one week following Summer’s disappearance on June 22, 2021. Residents in the vicinity were urged to inspect their barns and crawl spaces for possible hiding spots for a youngster. Specialized searches in the Beech Creek neighborhood continued.
On the day Summer vanished, June 23, 2021, investigators set up a roadblock to ask cars whether they observed anything suspicious.
TBI requested the driver of a Toyota pickup truck to come forward on June 26, 2021, after a witness saw it in the Beech Creek area late afternoon or early evening on June 14 or 15. The person may have observed something linked to Summer’s disappearance, according to officials.
“1998-2000 maroon or red Toyota Tacoma, with a complete bed ladder rack and white buckets in the truck bed,” according to the description.
The driver has yet to be identified.
27th of June, 2021: Officials have declared a reduction in search operations.
Summer’s disappearance, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin, has reignited interest in the case of her missing aunt, Rose Marie Bly, who went to Polk County in 2009.
2 July 2021: Sheriff Ronnie Lawson of Hawkins County tells WJHL that the over 750 tips received have yielded no credible leads.
Lawson told The Times-News on July 11, 2021. “It’s nowhere near being cold” in Summer’s instance.
TBI has received 935 tips about Summer’s disappearance as of July 12, 2021. “Everything is still on the table,” Lawson said in a video to the public.
“Everyone is still a person of interest because we’re still trying to figure out what happened to Summer,” he said.
Summer’s father, Donald Wells, had little optimism that she was still alive in an interview with The Times-News on the same day. He also stated that in the early stages of the investigation, he, his wife, and his mother-in-law all passed lie detector tests.
13 July 2021: Shelly Smitherman, TBI’s associate special agent in charge, said that within a few days of a child’s disappearance, detectives usually have a reliable tip or lead to work with.
“That is the component that frustrates law enforcement and the public in this instance,” she said. “We’ll keep looking for Summer and investigating.” Although there may not be as much media attention given to this case in the public eye, that does not imply we should stop working on it.”
What happened to her???
News Source: The Sun