The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) on June 15 released a new age-progression photo of Summer Wells, a Tennessee girl who vanished on June 15, 2021.
Wells was 5 years old when she was last seen at her home on Ben Hill Road in Rogersville, where she lived with her parents and older brothers.
The new, age-enhanced photo shows what Summer might look like now at 7 years old.
“I remember the sun shining, and I kept asking myself, ‘How can my heart be so broke and it be so beautiful, and … it was beautiful sunshine for 30 days after Summer’s disappearance,” her father, Don Wells, recalled of the day Summer went missing, in an hour-long phone interview with Tim Mullen, a spokesperson for the Wells family.
He remembered June 15, 2021, as a “picture-perfect day,” when Summer “wanted to go on the roof” with her brothers, which he allowed. He remembered his daughter as active and hands-on; she would follow her father when he mowed the lawn and roughhouse with her brothers, Wells said.
Don Wells was in jail until October 2022 unrelated DUI arrest that occurred after his daughter’s disappearance.
Mullen told Fox News Digital in a statement that the Wells family has faced harassment from media.
“The attack against Amber Alert Families continues,” he said. “I personally feel that Amber Families need extra legislative protection – the UK has laws against harassment of the ‘vulnerable.’ They have had to leave Tennessee due to the endless attacks, public judging, and a practical blackballing of Don from being able to get employment in [northeast] Tennessee.”
Child Protective Services removed Summer’s three brothers from their parents’ home following the 5-year-old girl’s disappearance. Wells’ wife, Candus Bly, told police she last saw Summer at their Rogersville home on June 15, 2021, after she came inside from planting flowers with her grandmother in the yard.
Wells and his wife maintain their belief that their daughter was kidnapped from their home in the presence of her family, who did not witness anyone at the property at the time.
Wells said in his interview with Mullen that Summer’s brothers were the last to see her at the house that day around 6 p.m.
“Not blaming them or nobody. We blame the one who snuck up here and took her from right under our noses. … We blame the kidnapper,” he said.
The Wells family also posted a YouTube video on June 15 featuring news segments, interviews and photos regarding Summer’s disappearance.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said in a June 14 statement that the agency is “continuing to chase every lead in order to find Summer” in what it described as “one of the most exhaustive and involved missing child cases” TBI has “ever investigated.”
“We won’t stop searching for Summer until we have answers,” the bureau said.
Summer was last seen wearing gray pants, a pink shirt and was possibly barefoot, according to NCMEC.
Summer remains part of an active Amber Alert. Investigators say they have served numerous search warrants and dedicated thousands of man-hours on the case over the past two years. Bly’s sister, Rose Marie Bly, was reported missing from Wisconsin in 2009 in a case that remains unsolved.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about Summer Wells’ whereabouts to contact the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 272-7121 or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.
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