HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson on Tuesday revealed that the family of missing 6-year-old Summer Wells is “not cooperating right now.”
Lawson followed that statement with a pause, adding that the family “has attorneys.” The news broke through as teams with the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) continued a small-scale search that launched on Monday.
The sheriff would not speak any further regarding the Wells’ attorneys, but Lawson did mention that no conversation or development led to Monday’s and Tuesday’s searches.
Summer Wells’ mother and grandmother responded to the sheriff’s comments on Tuesday, telling News Channel 11 that they had not lawyered up, but they cannot speak for Summer’s father.
In addition to the statements regarding Summer’s family, Lawson stressed again that social media speculation hindered the investigation from the beginning, steering investigators off-course as they followed every lead in an effort to bring Summer home.
“[In] the first few months, it was pretty bad, but I think it’s gotten to now that we don’t pay attention to it whatsoever,” Lawson said. “I mean, it’s just a waste of our time. Occasionally, we get something we really want to check into, but people out of state — they really don’t know what we’re doing.
“And I assure you that we have given 100% effort. We — the TBI, the FBI, my officers — we have given 100% effort on this case. No stone’s left unturned, and we’re not done yet.”
Tuesday marked the second day crews — including K9s — scoured through the rough terrain of the Beech Creek community near Summer’s home, from where the then-5-year-old disappeared after family last saw her planting flowers in the garden.
Summer’s mother, Candus Bly Wells, sent the following statement on Monday night regarding the search:
I am very happy that they are still looking for my daughter Summer. I heard about it, but I didn’t see anybody. Thank you for remembering her.Candus Bly, mother of Summer Wells
Summer’s June 15, 2021 disappearance has gained attention worldwide, though numerous searches and thousands of tips have not led to any answers.
“Like I’ve said from day one — everything is still on the table,” Lawson said. “Not ruled out anything.”
The TBI previously expressed the “very real possibility” that Summer wandered off from her Beech Creek home nearly nine months ago.
Since her disappearance, Summer’s parents have made an appearance on national talk show Dr. Phil and also created a YouTube channel, which has garnered nearly 14,000 subscribers since its launch in October.
After the channel’s launch, Summer’s father, Don Wells, was sentenced to nearly a year in jail stemming from a DUI arrest in October 2021. Wells pleaded guilty to the DUI charge, which led to an extended time in jail due to a probation violation.
The ongoing AMBER Alert for Summer lists the following details:
- Age: 6 years
- Sex: Female
- Race: White
- Hair: Blond
- Eyes: Blue
- Height: 3 feet
- Weight: 40 pounds
- Missing From: Rogersville, Tennessee
- Missing Since: June 15, 2021
Anyone with information on her whereabouts should contact the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office at 423-272-7121 or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.