The father of a 5-year-old Tennessee girl who disappeared last month said his three sons have now been taken away by child protective services – but he says that’s probably for the best, according to a report.
Donald Wells, whose daughter Summer Wells went missing from from her family home in June said ‘it’s probably better for them’ that his sons were removed after he says he was driven to drink over rumors that continued to swirl over his daughter’s disappearance.
‘Right now, with everybody attacking us and all this stuff going on, it’s probably better for them,’ Wells said in an interview with the Jay is 4 Justice podcast over the weekend.
Summer was reported missing from her Rogersville home on June 15 around 5.30pm after her parents Donald and mother Candus Bly said she went into the basement alone and then vanished.
Summer Moon-Utah Wells was reported missing from her home in Rogersville, Tennessee, on June 15. Now, her father says his three sons have been taken away by child protective services
Donald Wells (pictured with his wife Candus) says rumors swirling around his daughter’s disappearance had led him to drink, which had in turn led children’s services to remove his sons
Wells said his three sons (pictured) had been taken away earlier this month. The Tennessee Department of Children’s said child removals were confidential, but said it has been involved in the case of Summer’s disappearance
Her disappearance had sparked a 13-day search in the area around the home with few leads, and Wells told podcast host Jennifer Youngblood that his daughter’s disappearance has fueled rumors and theories, which had begun to affect him, WJHL reported.
‘They come at me and said – either posing – said they had the inside scoop with TBI [Tennessee Bureau of Investigation] and that they knew I sold my daughter for drugs, and I flipped out. I flipped out,’ Wells told Youngblood. ‘I believed that stuff. Like an idiot, I believed it and I flipped out, started drinking and everything else. And that’s why they took our kids.’
Youngblood told the station: ‘He did tell me regarding the boys being taken away that it was due to him having an episode of drinking and there’s other things swirling around the internet that it could be the home life or what’s going on right now in Summer’s case.’
The Tennessee Department of Children’s services told DailyMail.com that children’s removals are confidential, however, the department told Fox News that it has been involved in the investigation into Summer’s disappearance.
Donald Wells (pictured with his family) says amateur detectives and psychics have been turning up at his home in recent weeks, sometimes in the middle of the night
Wells said he had little hope his daughter would return home alive earlier this month. ‘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’
In a separate interview with the Kingsport-Times News Monday, Wells also said his sons had been taken away but declined to give a reason.
‘Right now it’s not safe at my house,’ he said. ‘There’s too much going on and people are crazier than hell, and right now it’s just not safe at my house. There’s too much going on. Too many crazy people coming around trying to start stuff.’
He said a number of amateur detectives and psychics had shown up at his home, sometimes in the middle of the night.
‘All this speculation is getting worse, and worse and worse,’ Wells said. ‘People are threatening us, and it’s not safe at my house. We’re hoping if something happens things will start to get safer, but the way things are going it’s just getting worse and worse.’
Meanwhile the investigation into Summer’s disappearance continues, Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson told the outlet.
He said misinformation about the case had been circulating on social media, which has at points hurt the investigation, the Times News reported.
Wells had confirmed his sons had been taken away by children’s services in a podcast interview over the weekend with Jay is 4 Justice host Jennifer Youngblood (pictured)
Summer’s disapperance sparked a 1e-day search in the area around her home
‘Social media is still causing problems with information and rumors that is not correct,’ he said. ‘There’s a lot of incorrect information, and a lot of advice coming from social media that’s hampering the investigation with stuff we’ve already done many times.’
Earlier this month Wells said he was doubtful his daughter would be found alive
‘I’ll see her in the resurrection,’ he said.
‘Statistically speaking, there’s a good chance she’s already dead,’ Donald told the Times-News in an earlier interview. ‘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.’
He and Candus have maintained that Summer 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 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.
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
‘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.
Summer was reportedly last seen entering the basement of the Rogersville home, seen here
‘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 at that point, he had not gone back to drinking.
‘I’m not going to let Satan convince me to go drinking,’ Donald said in the phone interview with the outlet. ‘I’m not going down that road. I choose life. I choose God.’
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.
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
Both parents were ordered to take a lie-detector test as part of the investigation into Summer’s disappearance, FOX reports, and reportedly passed.
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.
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.
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.
The investigators had to trek through tough terrain in the woods as part of their investigation
‘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.