KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Summer Wells was reported missing 31 days ago. While authorities remain puzzled about her whereabouts, the Wells family church is offering support to her family as the search for Summer continues.
Pastor David Ryder at the Kingsport Seventh Day Adventist Church told News Channel 11 Thursday that the Wells family, along with several church members, have been at the center of what he called hateful messages on social media.
He said the church of nearly 200 members — 70 of whom are children — is banding together to support the family while Summer remains missing.
“This congregation is like a church family, you know, we don’t have a very large church, less than 200 people. So we know each other and we know each other fairly well. And for someone like Summer Wells to be – in the father’s opinion – to be abducted like that, it’s just heartbreaking,” he said.
Ryder said the “church family” is drawing near the Wells family, offering support where possible.
“A lot of the help that they need is that type of emotional support, you know, having the prayer vigils, whenever there and you can imagine the kind of ups and downs that are going through, and they have some of these, just to be able to pick the phone up and text, and have a response or pick the phone up and call and have a response, you know, just trying to be there for them is called the ministry of presence, you know. We want to be able to help them know that they’re not going through this alone,” he said.
Summer’s Sabbath school teacher Robin Lane told News Channel 11 she has been in constant contact with Candus Bly, Summer’s mom, since the disappearance. She said she’s hopeful Summer will be found.
“She looked like she was really hurting and I just offered her a word of encouragement, and I have told her from the beginning that with each day that passes, I get more and more hopeful. I’m not just saying that because I want to be a positive, uplifting person people think I’m a real positive person. I’m a realistic person as well. I believe in miracles, and I do believe that God is going to reveal where she is, I believe she will be delivered. And I’m just looking forward to that day more and more with each passing day, I really truly do believe that she will be found,” Lane said.
Lane said the family deserves support in this time of crisis, not what she called hurtful social media messaging.
“We’re just trying to show the community support for the family and show people how much little Summer is just such a loving child, and to be attacked like that it’s hurtful,” she said.