The father of a five-year-old girl who vanished from her home in Tennessee a month ago offered a grim prediction that his daughter is no longer alive, saying: ‘I’ll see her in the resurrection.
Summer Moon-Utah Wells was reported missing from her Rogersville home on June 15 around 5.30pm after her parents said she went into the basement alone and then disappeared.
In an interview with a local newspaper on Monday, Summer’s father Donald Wells said he doesn’t expect the girl will be found alive.
‘Statistically speaking, there’s a good chance she’s already dead,’ Donald told the Kingsport Times-News. ‘I hate to think that. I love her with all my heart.’
‘If nothing else,’ he continued, ‘I’ll see her in the resurrection. As long as I keep the commandments and do what I’m supposed to do, I’ll see her.’
Summer’s parents have maintained that she was lured away from the home by a stranger – but authorities have not labeled the case an abduction and say they are still exploring ‘all possibilities’.
Summer Moon-Utah Wells was reported missing from her home in Rogersville, Tennessee, on June 15. In an interview this week Summer’s father expressed fear she’s no longer alive
‘Statistically speaking, there’s a good chance she’s already dead,’ Donald Wells (left) told the Kingsport Times-News. ‘I hate to think that. I love her with all my heart’
Summer had been outside planting flowers with her mother, Candus Bly, and her grandmother, Donald previously told WVLT, and went inside on her own. She was reportedly wearing a pink shirt and grey shorts, and may have been barefoot.
In his newspaper interview, Donald suggested that someone may have been ‘hiding in the weeds there waiting for her to go into the basement’.
He said his belief was confirmed when police dogs picked up her scent in the backyard and followed it through the woods, eventually reaching the end of their road.
‘We’ve had several people sneaking around there, but we’ve had them sneaking around at night,’ he said. ‘We’ve never had somebody up there at 5.30 in the afternoon that we know of. They didn’t come up the driveway.
‘They came up a dog trail from the woods,’ he said. ‘The dog that they used, that’s where the scent took them – down through the woods, not the driveway.’
‘It’s really discouraging,’ Donald added. ‘Only God can turn this around at this point.’
‘The police can’t come up with anything,’ he said. ‘All these people on Facebook all over the world can’t come up with anything. Nobody can. Only God can.’
Donald also said he would ‘do anything to have my baby back,’ and has to put his faith in God.
‘I’ve made up my mind not to let Satan win,’ he said. ‘I’ve still got to move forward. I’ve still got to go to work. I’ve still got to try, even though I miss her.
‘We live in an evil world,’ he added. ‘I’m not the first one to lose a family member. All sorts of tragedies have happened since the beginning of creation. There’s been all kin ds of bad stuff going on.’
Despite these ‘tragedies,’ though, he said he is not going to go back to drinking.
‘I’m not going to let Satan convince me to go drinking,’ Donald said in the phone interview with the local newspaper. ‘I’m not going down that road. I choose life. I choose God.’
Summer was last seen wearing a pink shirt and grey shorts, and may have been barefoot
She is described as being about three-feet tall and weighing approximately 40 pounds, with close-cropped blonde hair and blue eyes
Both Donald and his wife, Candus, have criminal histories, but reportedly passed a lie-detector test as part of an investigation into Summer’s disappearance. They also have three sons
Both he and Candus have previous criminal records, according to FOX News.
Donald was arrested on domestic assault charges in 2020, leading Candus to file for an order of protection against him, writing: ‘I am afraid for my children and myself.’
She later asked for the order to be dismissed and the charges against Donald were dropped on April 21, two months before Summer’s disappearance.
Both parents were ordered to take a lie-detector test as part of the investigation into Summer’s disappearance, FOX reports, and reportedly passed.
‘At first I didn’t get no sleep for two days,’ Donald recalled in his interview. ‘It was the worrst misery and pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I wasn’t able to take a lie-detector test.
‘They made me wait a little bit,’ he said, ‘but when I did take it I passed.
‘They made Candus wait five days longer to take hers,’ he recounted. ‘She just wasn’t able to. She tried and she wasn’t able to.
‘People are saying we failed and we took another test. That’s not the case, so when we did take them we both passed.’
He added that his three sons and mother-in-law were also questioned about Summer’s disappearance, and claimed that in the aftermath someone created a fake social media profile for him ‘and then they put on there that I buried some other woman’s body at the lake.
‘So the [Tennessee Bureau of Investigation] has been at the lake looking for her body,’ he said. ‘It’s just ridiculous what people are doing.’
Donald also said that Summer ‘loved me and I don’t know why.’
‘I’ve never had someone love me that much in my life, and it’s been awesome between me and her,’ he claimed. ‘It really has killed me since she’s been gone.’
Summer was reportedly last seen entering the basement of the Rogersville home, seen here
Donald said police dogs picked up Summer’s scent in the backyard and followed it through the woods, ultimately leading to the end of their road
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation looked into reports that a body was dumped in a nearby lake, Donald said
Tennessee investigators have since received nearly 1,000 tips in connection with her disappearance, but the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office said none of the leads have panned out.
‘Right now, everything is still on the table,’ Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said in a video posted to Twitter on Monday. ‘We’re still trying to find out what happened to Summer, so everyone’s still a person of interest.’
Investigators are still looking for a red pickup truck that may have been nearby when Summer went missing and are asking neighbors to check their home security and trail cameras for any evidence that might help locate Summer.
The circumstances surrounding her disappearance have yet to be determined, authorities said, and have not yet announced a person of interest of a suspect in the case.
The investigators had to trek through tough terrain in the woods as part of their investigation
ENDANGERED CHILD ALERT: We need your help to find 4-year-old Summer Moon-Utah Wells, missing from Rogersville.
If you see her, please call the Hawkins County Sheriff¿s Office at 423-272-7121 or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND. pic.twitter.com/HihurzP6Wy
— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) June 16, 2021
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation assistant special agent in charge Shelly Smitherman sad the case has been ‘frustrating’ for law enforcement.
Initial searches were marred by poor cellular service and challenging terrain in the woods near the home, and they have still not received a credible lead.
‘Typically on an AMBER alert … within a couple of days, we have a tip or lead, or have an idea if they’ve been abducted, if they maybe left into the woods,’ she said in another video posted to Twitter on Tuesday.
‘Somebody saw something that leads us hopefully to get an answer where the child went or if they were taken. We’re going to have some tip or lead,’ she said, adding that the fact that they have not received such information in this case ‘is the frustrating part for law enforcement.’
But, they said, they are continuing to look into ‘all possibilities,’ and pushed back investigators claims that the massive search placed a ‘burden’ on the sheriff’s office or budget reserves.
‘I wouldn’t support ending a search with credible leads,’ Hawkins County Commissioner Jason Roach told FOX. ‘But that’s not part of the conversation at all.’
He said the county always overestimates its expenditures and underestimates its tax revenue, giving it flexibility to shift funds in case of emergency situations, like Summer’s disappearance.
Summer is described as being about three-feet tall and weighing approximately 40 pounds, with close-cropped blonde hair and blue eyes.
Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 272- 7121 or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.