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Local officers assist in search for missing child

Members of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management Agency joined forces with Hawkins County to look for missing child, Summer Wells. Pictured: Johnson County EMA Director Jason Blevins, Chief Investigator Shawn Brown, K-9 Deputy Adam Worley, SRO Deputy Bailey Epperly, Deputy Faith Poteet, Deputy Robert Norris, Johnson County EMA Assistant Mike Sumner, Sheriff Eddie Tester. Submitted photo

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) and Emergency Management Agency (EMA) stepped up this past week to help in the search in a missing person case across county borders. Officials have been searching tirelessly for any clues in the case. Johnson County took over on June 23 and June 24 to give volunteers a break while keeping the search underway. According to Sheriff Eddie Tester, it was called a “big help.”

“I hope they would do the same for us,” said Tester. “And I know they would.”

This particular case likely tugs at heartstrings, considering the missing person is a child of only five years old. Summer Wells went missing on June 15, approximately two weeks ago, from her home in Hawkins County. Tester explained that he and the other seven Johnson Countians were assigned locations to search in a usual sweep and went through “rugged terrain,” including creeks and ponds.

According to Tester, both the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are involved in this search. TBI officers report that the case is unusual because the “circumstances leading to Summer’s disappearance remain unclear,” although some information would have usually come to light within a few days. Tester reports that K-9 units could follow Summer’s scent to the end of the road and no further. At the time of this article, there is no news of further updates.

“We are so thankful that we have the staff that is always readily available and more than willing to assist any other jurisdiction for any of these types of incidents,” JCSO released a public statement. “We ask that you remember Hawkins County Sheriff Lawson and his officers and staff as well as all other offices that have been involved with the endless days of searching for Summer until she can be found.”

Summer Wells is 3 feet tall and 40 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing gray pants, a pink shirt and could be barefoot. Anyone with information on Summer or any possible witnesses should call 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Police are currently searching for a potential witness who may have driven by in a red or maroon late-model 1990s or 2000 Toyota Tacoma around the time of the incident. Said person is not a suspect at this time.