Summer Wells’ father does not attend family prayer circle for missing 5-year-old

Several members of missing Summer Wells’ family attended a televised prayer circle for the missing 5-year-old girl, but Summer’s father Don Wells was absent.

Summer has been missing from her Hawkins County, home, for over three weeks. Her parents reported her missing on June 15, launching a large-scale search of the remote area. Authorities have not named any suspects in the girl’s disappearance. A spokesperson for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has said that the parents have been cooperative, but that investigators remain unclear about the circumstances of Summer’s disappearance.

As WJHL reports, a resident of the east Tennessee community where Summer was last seen organized a prayer vigil, part of which was captured by news cameras.

“God put this on my heart to bring the community together and pray as a team. I know people on Facebook have been praying too but I just don’t feel that’s enough,” Timmy Etherton, the organizer, told WJHL. “I also want to pray for her family as well. Just pray for Candus, and the boys and Donald because they need it too, just as Summer does.”

It is not clear from the report is Etherton was previously a friend of the family. The report notes that only Summer’s family members, including two of her brothers, and one additional friend attended the vigil. Summer’s father Don Wells was not in attendance.

Both Summer’s parents have come under scrutiny on social media for their comments about Summer’s disappearance; in particular, referring to their daughter in the past tense when speaking about her. As WJHL reports, the family members declined to be interviewed on-camera in connection to the prayer circle.

Etherton expressed gratitude for the efforts of the search crews.

“We’re just so thankful for their diligent efforts and everything and we know that they’re continuing to search for Summer…even though they have pulled back, I know that they haven’t let up,” said Dotson. “Our faith in Christ is strong and we just won’t give up hope until she’s found.”

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has said that the agency will not provide additional on-camera media updates unless there is a significant development in the investigation.

Read all of CrimeOnline’s covering of the search for Summer Wells here.

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