HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – As the search for Summer Wells continues, one former investigator is weighing in on the investigation.

Former Bristol, Tennessee investigator Deb Richmond spent almost 30 years working on investigations, some dealing with child abuse and sexual abuse.

“As each day passes, it is more alarming that she may not come home safely,” Richmond said. “But, there have been children found over the years, many many children found over those years that have come home safely.”

Richmond now works for Branch House, a resource for victims of abuse crimes. Even though she’s not an investigator anymore, Richmond has been following the Summer Wells case closely.

“If they’re not letting information out to the public, it may be, and I’m just saying this from experience, it may be because they have some good leads that they can’t afford to for the public to be involved in,” Richmond said.

Richmond said that she’s worked on abduction cases before, and most of them are family-related. Richmond said stranger abductions are rarer, and she never worked on one of those.

“The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a great help, and I’m sure the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office, I’m sure that they’ve touched base with them because they have many resources for missing children,” Richmond said.

Alan Nanavaty with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children said an AMBER alert is just one of those resources that were utilized in the search for Wells.

“AMBER Alert is one tool as I mentioned in those very critical cases it’s use, alerts are issued about 200 times a year,” Nanavaty said. “The National Center sees reporting of children up to 30,000 cases a year.”

Nanavanty said that by paying attention to missing child posters, and looking at AMBER alert information when you receive it, the public can play a big role in helping find a missing child.

“As time goes on there’s always the concern of information, whether it’s still there and does law enforcement have continued leads but that by no means that the family or public should give up,” Nanavanty said. “We have seen decades later a child is recovered safely and successfully.”

“There’s no doubt in mind that they are thinking night and day and thinking of all kinds of different ways to get this solved and to bring her home safely,” Richmond said.

The TBI Amber Alert reports Summer’s appearance as follows:

  • Age: 5
  • Sex: Female
  • Race: White
  • Hair: Blonde Eyes: Blue
  • Height: 3′
  • Weight: 40 lbs.
  • NCIC: M476287498
  • Missing From: Rogersville, Tennessee
  • Missing Since: June 15, 2021

Anyone with information regarding Wells’ whereabouts is urged to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.