HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Candus Bly, the mother of missing Rogersville 5-year-old Summer Wells, says a lot is on her mind as the two-week mark of her daughter’s disappearance passes by.
Bly told News Channel 11 in an exclusive interview on Monday that she is certain Summer did not wander away from the home and suspects she was taken. She was joined by her husband and Summer’s father, Donald Wells.
“I know she didn’t walk away from this property by herself or off this yard,” Bly said. “I feel in my heart that somebody has came up here and took her, has lured her away from here.”
Bly went into detail when remembering the evening of Summer’s disappearance. She recounted planting flowers with her own mother and Summer.
“Me and my mother and her were planting flowers, and we went in after we got done washing our hands, and she got a piece of candy from grandma,” Bly said. “And she wanted to go back over and see her brothers. I said ‘Okay,’ and I walked all the way over to the porch, and I watched her walk into the kitchen where the boys were watching TV.”
Bly said she told the boys to watch Summer until she returned. Bly said she was back within two minutes and asked where Summer was.
“They said, ‘she went downstairs, Mom, to play with her toys in the playroom,'” Bly recounted.
According to Bly, she yelled downstairs for Summer, but she heard no response.
“Which was unusual, because usually she always answers me,” Bly said. “And so I went down there to check, and she was nowhere in sight. She was just gone.”
Audio samplings from emergency scanner traffic on June 15, the night of Summer’s disappearance, capture personnel saying that Bly had gone for a walk.
Below is a transcription of the audio as authorities were called to Summer’s home on Ben Hill Road, courtesy of Broadcastify:
“You be in route to 110 one-one-zero Ben Hill Road off of Beech Creek it will the first resident on your right, in reference to a missing 4-year old. The parents have called in advised that the mother had went for a walk, came home and now they can’t find her, they have been yelling for her, she has been gone for about 10 minutes now.”
Authorities later learned that Summer was, in fact, 5 years old.
Bly told News Channel 11 on Monday, June 28 that she does not go on walks near their home.
“I don’t go on walks around here or runs, because I’m scared of the bears and snakes, and even the coyotes that are around here,” she said.
Wells said he is not sure why authorities thought Bly had been on a walk.
Bly said she is hopeful for her daughter’s safe return as search efforts continue for Summer.
“Whoever has my daughter, I pray and hope that they have not harmed her and they bring her back to us safe and sound,” Bly said.
On Saturday, June 26, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said they were seeking the driver of red or maroon Toyota Tacoma who could be a “potential witness” in the case of Summer’s disappearance. Bly told News Channel 11 that the vehicle is a mystery to her.
“It’s really strange that I’ve never seen this truck, and I’ve never heard of it until just recently,” Bly said. “But I wish they would come forward and explain themselves. If you’re not a suspect, at least come forward and say what you’ve seen.”
Throughout the Search for Summer, community members have wondered why Summer’s hair was as short as it was. According to Bly and Wells, the hairstyle was Summer’s choice.
“She was a tomboy,” Bly said. “I shaved my head. She wanted to have her head shaved like me and the boys did.”
“She tried to shave her head,” Wells said. “She tried to make it, I think you can see it on some of the pictures, and it was getting out of control. So we decided to shave her head off and let it grow back long.”
Incident Commander Tim Coup of the Church Hill Rescue Squad announced on Sunday, June 27 that crews would be scaling back operations to find Summer, citing mental and physical exhaustion among the more than 120 agencies participating in the effort.
“Well, we knew, I knew right away that she was abducted,” Wells said. “I knew that right away, and that’s what I told them from the beginning, but they have to go through their [investigation]. We have to do one step at a time, I guess, but I’m sorry that they had to spend so many man hours in these woods and everything.”
Wells also said he wished there was a way investigators could search neighbors’ homes and obtain search warrants if the residents were not willing to allow them in.
Wells expressed thanks to community members that have offered a reward for information leading to Summer’s return.
Summer’s parents also said that despite comments and posts on social media, they are choosing to focus on the supportive people around them.
“There’s always going to be haters, you know, and there’s always going to be that way in this world,” Wells said. “We’ll just want to focus on the good friends and Christian people that are trying to help us and praying for us and praying for Summer, and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts. And that’s the kind of people we try to relate with and socialize with. So we don’t know anything about, you know, no red truck. We hardly know any of our neighbors. I mean because we just try to be around good people. I mean, we do have good people in this area, we found out since this has all happened. I got some real good neighbors and good folks everywhere.”
“The most important thing is to bring Summer home,” Bly said.
Bly also addressed rumors on social media regarding Wells and the rest of the family.
“I’m sorry that you feel this way about us, but we love our children with everything we have. We’ve never went without thanks to Summer’s daddy and my husband,” Bly said. “He’s always provided for us and worked as much as he could and can, and still is, and I’m sorry that you guys feel that way. But that’s my baby, and nobody would ever treat her like that as long as I was around, ever.”
Summer’s parents say she loves to dance with Wells.
“She says ‘Daddy, hold my hand so I can twirl,’ and she would, she would just like to twirl and twirl and twirl ’til my arm got tired. I mean, I put out there that one of Summer’s favorite songs was ‘Godzilla’ and they say, you know, jumping all over me about past tense ‘was.’ You know well, I’m sorry about that.”
Bly and Wells also said Summer loved the movie Frozen and to pretend to be the princess Elsa. They also said she looked up to their friend, Robin, whom they attend church services with.
According to Summer’s parents, she is a tomboy and very much the boss of her older brothers.
“She’d give them a run for their money every day,” Wells said. “She’d give them a run for their money and there was times you know, we would be, you know, that our boys like ‘don’t do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ and next thing you know, a stick would come up and just whap ’em, and we’d be like ‘Summer, don’t do that.'”
“Summer was the boss of the family,” Bly said. “They’d get out of line, and she’d put them in line.”
While her parents said Summer loved to play princess, they also emphasized how much she liked to get dirty.
“She loved to play in the mud, in the water and swing on a swing and enjoy dirt,” Bly said.
Summer’s parents say she was not in school yet, but they had planned to start her this year and had already registered her.
Bly said of all three of Summer’s brothers, Josie (14), Wyatt (11) and Waylon (9), the youngest is having the toughest time.
“He just misses his sister so much, because he played with her all the time,” Bly said. “He was, I think, one of her favorites.” Bly went on to say that the last two weeks had been “devastating” and “heartbreaking” for her sons.
“I just never expected for anyone to get hold of my heart like she has,” Wells said. “Because I’ve tried to guard my heart as much as I can. But she just, she holds my heart, her little hands. I love her with all my heart. I’d do anything to have her back.”
Bly and Wells said they wholeheartedly believe someone has Summer and pleaded with whoever that may be to let her go.
“If there’s any way that you can find it in your heart to please release her, somehow, I don’t know how you might do that. I mean, because I’m you’re probably scared of going to prison for the rest of your life and everything else, I’m sure,” Wells said. “But please find it in your heart. Have mercy and find a way of letting her go where we can get her back. And just please have mercy on her and us and her brothers. She’s such a loving, good spirit. Please, please don’t hurt her. Please, let her come home.”
“Bring my baby home, please,” Bly said. “We really miss her very much. She was the angel, our blessing. The love of our life? Sure, this is what made our world go around.”
Wells said his biggest fear is that Summer is being tormented somewhere.
“I’m just scared that somebody is hurting her,” Bly said. “And there’s nothing I can do about it. It smothers me.”
Bly also touched on a TikTok video that has gained traction on social media of Summer swimming. She said the video was taken earlier on June 15, the day Summer was first reported missing.
Bly said they were only swimming for around 20 minutes while waiting to pick up a prescription from a drugstore. She said they then returned home in the afternoon. Bly was not certain how many hours passed from the time they returned home and Summer disappeared.
“You know, I really can’t tell you all the time details, because time gets away from you when you’re trying to enjoy yourself,” Bly said.
Bly addressed the case of her missing sister, which investigators say does not appear to be linked to the case of Summer.
“When my sister gone missing I was between Arkansas and Tennessee,” Bly said. “I don’t know all of what happened or what did happen. But I hope that they find her too and bring her home safely, too.”
“Well, yeah, there’s nothing that I mean, she disappeared without a trace,” Wells said. “They haven’t found anything, haven’t found a body, nothing. And, when you see cases like that, that’s why I lose hope on Summer. You know, I want to keep hope, but sometimes I just, I just lose hope. When I think maybe we won’t never see her again, you know? So I start thinking in past tense, sorry. But I’m trying to keep hope. I’m trying to keep my prayers up and all that.”
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.
CONTINUING COVERAGE: The Search for Summer Wells
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