The parents of a missing Tennessee girl address some questions and apparent inconsistencies surrounding their daughter’s disappearance in an interview with a local news station.
Summer Wells, 5, was reported missing from her east Tennessee home on June 15, sparking a massive multi-agency search for the remote, densely wooded area near her home in Hawkins County. Authorities have not ruled out foul play, but have not named and suspects or persons of interest in the investigation. Last week, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that Summer’s parents Don Wells and Candus Bly have been cooperative. The spokesperson also said that the circumstances of Summer’s disappearance remain unclear.
WHJL has published an extended video clip of an interview with Wells and Bly regarding Summer’s disappearance. In the uncomfortable interview, Bly says that the emergency dispatch account of Summer’s initial disappearance is not correct.
As the report notes, the transcription of the emergency dispatch call, provided by Broadcastify, states that Summer’s mother discovered that her daughter was missing after returning home from a walk:
“You be in route to 110 one-one-zero Ben Hill Road off of Beech Creek it will the first resident on your right, in reference to a missing 4-year old. The parents have called in advised that the mother had went for a walk, came home and now they can’t find her, they have been yelling for her, she has been gone for about 10 minutes now.”
Summer’s mother denied going on a walk the day Summer disappeared.
“I don’t go on walks around here or runs, because I’m scared of the bears and snakes, and even the coyotes that are around here,” Bly said.
She also said in an earlier interview clip that she was away outside of her home for just two minutes before she found that Summer was not in the house.
It is unclear why authorities apparently believed that Summer vanished while her mother was on a walk. The dispatcher also believed that Summer was 4 years old.
Don Wells addressed the social media criticism aimed at the parents, including the response to a social media post he made regarding Summer’s favorite song, in which he used the past tense.
“They’re jumping all over me about past tense, ‘was.’ Well, I’m sorry about that,” Wells said.
At that point, Summer’s mother interjected and described another song Summer likes.
“It was called ‘My House.’ She sung that a lot of times when I played it on the TV,” Bly said.
The Facebook post isn’t the only time Don Wells’ language suggested his daughter might not be coming home. He spoke at a prayer vigil on June 19, asking God to watch over Summer and saying, “She’s been the light of my life for the past 5 years.”
During the interview with WHGL, the parents made repeated references to their church and their “Christian family.”
“I think she really loved to be in church because she felt a lot of love there … she loved everybody in that church,” Summer’s father said before correcting himself.
“Or she loves everybody in that church. I should rephrase that, because they will tear that apart as past tense.”
But parents spoke of Summer in the past tense throughout the interview, with Summer’s mother saying at different points that “She loved ‘Frozen,'” “she loved to play in the mud,” and “Summer was the boss of the family.”
Bly also addressed the social media critics who have said they are suspicious of Summer’s parents.
“I’m sorry that you feel this way about us, but we love our children with everything we have. We’ve never went without thanks to Summer’s daddy and my husband,” Bly said. “He’s always provided for us and worked as much as he could and can, and still is, and I’m sorry that you guys feel that way. But that’s my baby, and nobody would ever treat her like that as long as I was around, ever.”
Read all of CrimeOnline’s covering of the search for Summer Wells here.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode.