KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WATE) — Summer Wells, 5, remains missing 21 hours after she disappeared from her home in Hawkins County.
At a press conference on Wednesday, people living in the region were asked to check outbuildings and storage sheds for the missing child.
Wells is 3-feet tall with blonde hair who is believed to be barefoot. She was last seen Tuesday evening walking near her home in the Beech Creek community, about 15 miles southwest of Kingsport. At that time, she was wearing a pink shirt and gray shorts.
Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said more than 100 first responders are combing the areas near Wells home, about 15 miles southwest of Kingsport. He said the area is “very dense, a hard area to search” with very little radio communication possible.
“What makes it so hard is communication between boots on the ground, searchers in the woods and the different agencies. We aren’t like in these towns where they’ve got a lot of cell service,” Lawson said.
Lawson said multiple agencies are searching the area using every tool available, including FLIR cameras on a THP helicopter overnight.
The family is cooperating in the investigation, Lawson said, but declined to answer questions about any issues within the home.
Lawson and Leslie Earhart, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, declined to comment on the reason the Endangered Child Alert was raised to an AMBER Alert saying it is “part of the investigation.”
“The bottom line is we don’t know where she is at this time.”
TBI initially issued an Endangered Child Alert on Tuesday night, but upgraded that to an AMBER Alert on Wednesday. The agency said “new information and growing concern,” led to that update. New images of Wells were also released Wednesday, with TBI noting that her hair may be shorter than how it appeared in earlier photos.
Anyone with information is asked to call the TBI hotline 1-800-TBI-FIND or call 911.