UPDATED 3/2/22 – The investigation into the disappearance of Summer Wells remains active and ongoing. This week, teams returned to Hawkins County as part of a planned search that focused on previously identified areas of interest. Additionally, agents and detectives continue to follow up on potential leads. We ask anyone with credible first-hand information regarding Summer’s disappearance to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.
Please see below for background information on the case.
UPDATED 12/15/21 – It has been six months since 5-year-old Summer Wells was reported missing from her home on Ben Hill Road in Hawkins County. The case remains unsolved and weighs heavily on all those working to find answers. The investigation remains active and ongoing as TBI agents work alongside the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI to determine what happened to Summer.
At this time, there is no evidence that she was abducted. However, all avenues continue to be explored, including foul play and the possibility that she wandered off and became lost in the mountainous and rough terrain surrounding her home. We are asking anyone who saw Summer at any time on Tuesday, June 15th, to come forward if they haven’t done so already.
We appreciate the public’s ongoing interest in this case and urge anyone with credible information to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.
We would also encourage the public to be cautious about donating to private individuals who claim to be working with law enforcement on this case. We’ve been made aware of several individuals who appear to be using Summer’s disappearance for their own personal gain.
UPDATED 11/10/21 – The investigation into the disappearance of 5-year-old Summer Wells remains active and ongoing. The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation continue to work alongside the FBI to determine what happened to Summer. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are limited to the details we can provide. However, since we aren’t able to respond to all individual inquiries, we’ve worked with the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office to compile a list of questions we frequently receive from those who have recently started following the case. Most of the questions have been asked by local media agencies covering the case from the beginning and have been answered by authorities throughout the investigation. 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.
When was Summer last seen? 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? 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? 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? 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? 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? 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? 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? Yes. Both have been questioned.
Have you questioned neighbors and searched their properties? Yes.
Have you questioned registered sex offenders in the area? Yes.
Is there evidence that Summer was abducted? None that we’ve developed at this stage.
Is the FBI involved? 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? 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.
UPDATED 11/4/21 – TBI agents continue to work with the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI in an effort to determine what happened to Summer Wells. To date, we’ve received approximately 1,500 tips. Most of those have been the result of misinformation being spread online. While we do not discuss specifics about evidence gathered in an ongoing investigation, we are doing everything within our power to find Summer. You can view the information we’ve released since June 15th below and in the following Twitter thread. https://twitter.com/TBInvestigation/status/1405180461375164419?s=20
UPDATED 8/4/21 – The investigation into the circumstances leading to the disappearance of 5-year-old Summer Wells remains active and ongoing. Agents and Hawkins County detectives continue to search for a 1998-2000 maroon or red Toyota Tacoma, with a full bed ladder rack and white buckets in the truck bed. As previously mentioned, this stems from information investigators received that a truck matching that description was seen 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.
It has been brought to our attention that a photo of what the truck may look like has been circulating on social media, along with claims that the vehicle has been located. This is not accurate. Additionally, the photo was not released by law enforcement. We continue to urge the public only to share information from official sources.
We are also aware of individuals asking for donations from the public under the pretense that they are assisting law enforcement in the search for Summer. Agents and Hawkins County detectives have not requested investigative assistance from any private citizen.
Should we develop new information that could help in locating Summer, we will notify the public immediately. However, please understand that we cannot share specifics about the investigation itself, as it is ongoing.
UPDATED 7/8/21 at 1:45 p.m. (ET) – To date, we’ve received more than 870 tips in the search for 5-year-old Summer Wells. The investigation remains active and ongoing, as TBI agents and detectives with the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office continue to work alongside the FBI in an effort to determine what happened to Summer. Residents who live in the Beech Creek Community near Ben Hill Road are urged to contact us with information if they haven’t done so already. We also ask property owners in that area to call 1-800-TBI-FIND if they have surveillance or trail cameras that haven’t yet been reported to or reviewed by authorities. The smallest detail could prove beneficial to the investigation.
UPDATED 7/1/21 at 1:05 p.m. (ET) – We appreciate your partnership and ongoing interest in the search for Summer Wells. To date, we’ve vetted 730 tips. None have led to a solid lead. Please call 1-800-TBI-FIND only to report credible information, not speculation or rumors. Doing so helps us get to the most important information as quickly as possible.
UPDATED 6/26/21 at 4:25 p.m. (ET) – As we’ve previously mentioned, we have been working around the clock to identify anyone who may have been in the area around the time 5-year-old Summer Wells disappeared to determine what they may have seen or heard, no matter how insignificant it may have seemed to them at the time. Every detail is important.
In the process of doing this, we received information that a Toyota pickup truck was seen 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. The pickup is possibly a 1998-2000 maroon or red Toyota Tacoma, with a full bed ladder rack along with white buckets in the truck bed.
We have been unable to identify the driver of this truck. Due to this, we are asking this driver to contact us at 1-800-TBI-FIND. We would like to speak with you to confirm this information and ask what you may have heard or seen at the time. If you are the driver of this truck, please contact us.
We want to stress that this individual is not a suspect, but is a potential witness who may have heard or seen something that may help us in our search for Summer.
UPDATED 6/25/21 at 1:30 p.m. (ET) to include the number of agencies that have assisted in the search.
UPDATED 6/22/21 at 3:20 p.m. (ET) to include photos of the Incident Command Post and aerial photos of the search.
UPDATED 6/19/21 at 8:30 p.m. (ET) to include photos of the area where Summer Wells went missing, the search efforts, and the terrain teams are combing through in hopes of finding her.
UPDATED 6/18/21 at 10:05 p.m. (ET) to include the latest on the search for Summer Wells and the investigation into the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.
HAWKINS COUNTY – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation continues to work alongside the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and numerous other local and state agencies to locate 5-year-old Summer Moon-Utah Wells, who became the subject of a statewide AMBER Alert on Wednesday, June 16th.
She was reported missing to the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15th. Hawkins County investigators immediately began working the case. Shortly after that, an Endangered Child Alert was issued. New information and a growing concern about the well-being of Summer prompted the TBI to issue a statewide AMBER Alert less than twelve hours later.
Summer has blonde hair, blue eyes, stands 3’0″, and weighs approximately 40 pounds. She was reportedly last seen wearing grey pants, a pink shirt and was possibly barefoot.
At this time, the circumstances of Summer’s disappearance remain unclear. Should we develop information that she was abducted and have suspect and vehicle specifics to provide, we will share it with the public immediately. As this is an active and ongoing investigation, we cannot share specifics. However, we want to reassure the public that TBI agents and Hawkins County detectives are looking into all possibilities in an effort to determine what happened to the 5-year-old.
We are asking residents who live in the area of Ben Hill Road to please check any trail cameras or surveillance cameras they may have for video or photos of Summer. We also encourage residents in that area to check out buildings, sheds, or any other possible space where she could have sought shelter.
While law enforcement conducts the investigation, the physical search continues. Numerous local, state, and federal agencies are working together with one goal in mind – finding Summer. Teams have searched approximately 3,000 acres, utilizing all resources available. In addition to air and land searches, ponds and creeks are also being checked. More than 100 agencies have contributed to search efforts.
Please only share information from credible sources. Sharing speculation or rumors only makes the process more difficult for law enforcement by increasing the number of non-credible tips.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND or the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office at 423-272-7121. Tips can be emailed to TipsToTBI@tn.gov.