Pastor of Summer Wells speaks on girl’s disappearance

Summer Wells’ pastor spoke to WVLT News for the first time about the 5-year-old’s disappearance and the ongoing AMBER Alert.
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 4:09 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2021 at 3:33 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The pastor of Kingsport Seventh-Day Adventist Church where Summer Wells and her family attend, spoke to WVLT News about the girl’s disappearance.

David Ryder told WVLT News Reporter Ashley Bohle that he is struggling because there has been no hope for the family. Despite hundreds of tips in the AMBER Alert case, none have led to 5-year-old Summer. Ryder said that has caused a sense of hopelessness for the family.

The Wells family attended the church for a year before the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryder said, though they have not officially joined. That has not stopped church-goers from keeping the missing child in their thoughts, he said.

“Our members continue to uplift in prayer both her family and the authorities seeking to bring her home safely,” Ryder said.

He said he remembered preaching during service with Summer walking around behind him.

Ryder described Summer Wells as a “free spirit” and said she and the women of the church have a strong relationship. “Our hearts have been broken by the disappearance of a precious young child, Summer Wells, and we pray for her safe return,” he said in a statement to WVLT News.

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