HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Donald Wells spoke on camera for the first time since he was released from jail three months ago. An Amber Alert for his daughter, Summer Wells, remains active 19 months after it was first issued.

“We have to prepare ourselves for a worst-case scenario. You know, we could always hope for a good scenario,” Donald Wells said.

After serving time for a DUI charge, Don Wells was released from jail on Oct. 30.

“One of the guards gave me a copy of the New Living Translation Bible. So I found that to be about the best book there was. So I read,” Wells said. “I read it several times because what else was there really to do? I was in 23-hour lockdown for my safety, they say.”

He broke his silence in a recent post on FindSummerWells.com. He criticized the Department of Children’s Services for how they handled the case involving his older children.

“We really want our boys back home. If, you know, if Summer was to be found today, we wouldn’t be able to see her or talk to her,” he said. “And we can’t talk to our boys.”

Wells told News Channel 11 that their three older children were in touch with his wife, Candus, while he was in jail. We asked if something changed when he was released.

“The only thing that changed is suddenly I wasn’t, we weren’t allowed to contact them at all,” he said.

And since he was released from jail, Wells says it has been a challenge to gain custody back.

“[DCS is] doing nothing to help us. In fact, they’re making us jump through all kinds of hoops, which is almost impossible to jump through all of them and hold a job and do all these things and making it real, real tough on us,” said Wells.

Wells told us he is no longer working for his previous employer and had to find work out of state.

“I don’t know if exactly fired or whatever would be the right term, but they don’t want the drama from YouTubers out there,” said Wells. “They’re trying to build houses. They’re trying to sell houses. And they, of course, don’t want that kind of drama on the job sites. I really don’t blame them for that.”

Another challenge has been his wife’s health.

“Candus has been in the emergency room four times for heart problems. And we’re looking at eventually doing major surgery, hopefully, to correct the problem with her heart,” he said.
“She’s doing better. I think but all the stress and stuff are not helping at all.”

This weekend marks Summer’s seventh birthday, a time when he will wonder what she would be like now.

“I don’t really want to celebrate her birthday without her,” Wells said. “She was definitely going to be tall, probably as tall as me, I’d say because she was growing so fast. I’m sure she would be the same person. And she didn’t have any qualms about taking on her brothers, that’s for sure. She didn’t hesitate to put them in their place real quick.”

The AMBER Alert for Summer Wells remains active. She has been missing since June 15, 2021.

If you have any credible information that can help investigators find out where she is, call 1-800-TBI-FIND. You can also email tips to TipsToTBI@tn.gov.