One day before Don and Candus Wells were to appear on the Dr. Phil show to discuss their missing 5-year-old daughter Summer, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reported an “uptick in misinformation being spread online”.

Donald and Candus Wells were scheduled to appear on Dr. Phil Thursday, which aired locally on WJHL CH. 11.

Summer was reported missing from her home on Ben Hill Road in the Beech Creek community of Hawkins County on the evening of June 15.

On Wednesday the TBI posted multiple Tweets updating thew status of the Summer Wells investigation.

“We’ve noticed an uptick in misinformation being spread online about the search for 5-year-old Summer Wells, who went missing from her home in Hawkins County in June,” The TBI stated. “We want to be clear that we’re doing everything within our power to find her. We continue to work daily with the HCSO and the FBI to determine what happened to Summer. No one is more frustrated than us by the lack of answers at this stage. However, we haven’t given up, and we won’t.”

The TBI further stated, “In addition to exhaustive ground searches, dozens of aerial searches have been conducted. Dive teams were brought in to explore waterways in the area, and K9 teams specializing in a variety of search methods have been utilized. The area where Summer went missing is extremely rural, with few businesses. All available surveillance photos and videos have been collected and reviewed. Additionally, neighborhood canvases were conducted in an effort to make sure we didn’t miss any residential cameras.”

Share factual information — not speculation

“While we do not discuss specifics about evidence gathered in an ongoing investigation, we can tell you that numerous search warrants have been executed, and any potential digital evidence has been collected. This includes social media accounts.”

“Again, we’d encourage you to share factual information — not speculation — as the case continues to unfold.”

Nov. 10, 2021

Frequently asked questions about Summer Wells

When was Summer last seen?

TBI: Her mother reports last seeing her on the afternoon of June 15th at their home in the 100 block of Ben Hill Road. In order to preserve the integrity of the investigation, we will not provide additional information regarding the timeline.

Have you searched the home and property around the residence?

TBI: Yes, more than once, including the basement, crawl space, all vehicles, outbuildings, barrels, and other items located on the property. Additionally, K9 teams specializing in a variety of search methods have also been utilized.

Have you searched the phones and computers belonging to the Wells family?

TBI: Yes, working alongside the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, numerous subpoenas and search warrants have been obtained, resulting in any available digital evidence being collected, searched, and documented. This includes social media accounts.

Have you searched the flower bed?

TBI: There was not a flower bed. Summer’s mother and grandmother stated that she was planting flowers with them shortly before she was last seen. The flowers were planted in pots, and yes, the pots were examined.

Have you searched waterways in the area?

TBI: Yes. Dive teams were brought in to search bodies of water in the area.

Have you conducted aerial searches? Yes. Numerous searches from the air have been completed, especially during the first few weeks after Summer went missing. Additionally, drones were used to map the area and to pinpoint bodies of water as well as any other points of interest.

Will additional searches be conducted?

TBI: Investigators will continue to search points of interest as they are developed as well as follow up on all tips regarding Summer’s whereabouts.

Have you collected and reviewed surveillance video?

TBI: Yes. We’ve collected surveillance photos and videos from a variety of locations. Additionally, the entire area was canvased in an effort to locate any residential cameras that weren’t voluntarily reported. Please keep in mind that the Beech Creek area of Hawkins County is very rural, with few businesses and no traffic cameras.

Have you questioned the parents?

TBI: Yes. Both have been questioned.

Have you questioned neighbors and searched their properties?

TBI: Yes.

Have you questioned registered sex offenders in the area?

TBI: Yes.

Is there evidence that Summer was abducted?

TBI: None that we’ve developed at this stage.

Is the FBI involved?

TBI: Yes. They’ve been involved since the AMBER Alert was issued. Additionally, in the first week, the FBI Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) team responded to the area. FBI agents continue to assist with the investigation.

Why did you release information about a Toyota Truck?

TBI: An individual who travels through the area regularly as part of his job stated that he recalls possibly seeing a 1998-2000 maroon or red Toyota Tacoma, with a full bed ladder rack and white buckets in the truck bed. The individual stated that the truck might have been parked in the area of Beech Creek Road and Ben Hill Road in the late afternoon to early evening on either Monday, June 14th, or Tuesday, June 15th. That vehicle was not captured on surveillance cameras. In an effort to cover all bases and identify the driver, the TBI, in agreement with the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, released the vehicle description. Our hope was that the individual might have information that could help the investigation. The driver has not come forward, nor have the hundreds of vehicles reported to us as matching the description panned out.

TBI: Our number one goal is finding Summer. Please help us and – more importantly – Summer by only sharing facts about the case. Anyone with credible information is asked to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.