HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The father of missing 5-year-old Summer Wells said he believes his daughter may have been kidnapped.

Don Wells said he was not ready to go on camera but did issue a statement to News Channel 11 on Thursday. Summer disappeared Tuesday evening, and Don said “she would never do that.”

“She would never leave our hill. I think that someone snuck up on her and grabbed her. I don’t think she’s in the area because the dog goes down to the road and that’s the end of the trail, but I don’t know that for a fact. The way that she just disappeared, she would never do that,” Don Wells said.

Summer Wells was reported missing Tuesday evening by her parents in the Beech Creek area of Hawkins County. An endangered child alert issued Tuesday night was escalated to a statewide AMBER Alert Wednesday morning.

“We know that there’s people praying all around the world praying for her safe return. So many people love her,” Don Wells said.

TBI has asked that residents continue to share photos of Summer and credible information.

“As we’ve stated before, the circumstances surrounding Summer’s disappearance remain unclear,” said TBI’s Public Information Officer, Leslie Earhart in a media briefing Thursday afternoon. “If we do develop information that she was taken and we develop a suspect and a vehicle description…we will share that immediately. At this time, that’s just not the case.”

More than 100 emergency responders have searched around her home with ground and aerial search crews covering a several mile radius by Thursday evening, but have yet to locate her.

Communications issues and rough terrain have complicated the ground search effort.

Anyone with information on Summer Wells’ whereabouts is asked to call 911 or 1-800-TBI-FIND.

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