Tri-State search crews enlisted in search for missing Tennessee girl, 5

Summer Wells hasn’t been seen since June 15.
Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 9:25 PM EDT
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HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WXIX) - Crews from Greater Cincinnati are now involved in the search for a 5-year-old girl missing from her Rodgersville home for more than a week.

The case of Summer Wells quickly gained national attention after she was first reported missing on June 15.

She is described as 3′ and 40 lbs. with blond hair and blue eyes. Authorities say she was last seen wearing grey pants and a pink shirt and was possibly barefoot.

At this point, investigators are calling the circumstances surrounding Wells’ disappearance “unclear.” Family members point to a possible abduction.

Wells’ father, Donald Wells spoke to our sister station WVLT last week.

“Me personally, I’m pretty certain someone grabbed her, threw her in a car and left the area,” he said.

Sheriff’s deputies, the FBI, State Highway Patrol, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and dozens of other agencies are involved in the case.

Search teams scoured Hawkins County, of which Rogersville is the county seat, hoping to track Wells down. So far they’ve covered more than 3,000 acres, but their efforts have come up empty.

The Midwest Chapter of Texas Equusearch is among those agencies pitching in.

“Children always tug at the hearts, and here you have a little 5-year-old girl that’s 40 lbs. at best,” said Dave Rader, director of Equusearch Midwest. “And being with the terrain, and being with what she’s up against out there all alone, it kind of pushes you even harder.”

Rader says the days have been long and the terrain has been tough, but they’re devoted to the cause.

“You were battling the heat. You were battling the bears. You were battling copperheads at this time of year,” Rader said. “Mentally, it takes a toll on you. I mean, I can’t lie to you.”

Rader adds, even with all that, the prospect of finding Wells keeps him going. But he knows he’s in a battle with time.

“Depending on where this goes and how the investigation goes, I hope to God that she’s still alive,” he said. “But I got a feeling that they’re going to shortly move into... They’re going to change this from a rescue to a recovery.”

Midwest EquuSearch crews will take a break from searching Friday but could join the efforts again this weekend.

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