Search and recovery team headed back to TN to search for Summer Wells

Search and recovery team, EquuSearch, is headed back to Hawkins County to continue the search for missing five-year-old Summer Wells as the AMBER Alert continues.
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 5:52 PM EDT
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ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A national non-profit search and recovery team is headed back to Hawkins County to continue the search for missing five-year-old Summer Wells.

EquuSearch has chapters in Texas and Ohio with 16 volunteers from Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, trekking to Rogersville to search for Summer.

Dave Rader directs the Midwest chapter.

“I want to find this little baby,” said Rader. “She needs to be found.”

Summer was last seen on June 15, wearing a pink shirt, grey shorts and she was possibly barefoot. Now 37 days into the AMBER Alert issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and authorities still don’t have answers on what might have happened to her.

“It was always bothering us that we didn’t go out further than what we initially were doing,” said Rader. “The mountainous region that we were in, it was brutal.”

The organization announced crews would be in the Hawkins County area July 24 and 25 from eight in the morning until dark and ask those that see them to refrain from posting about the search.

Half of the team were in Hawkins County a month ago searching, but they didn’t speak to the Wells’ family and worked with the head of the ground search operations commander Tim Coup.

“I have not spoke to them,” said Rader. “I haven’t seen them. My main objective is to go off Coup, law enforcement of course and that’s the way and that’s the way we’ll continue to do this.”

The searchers are trained on evidence preservation and ground search operations. They have technology on hand if needed which includes a remote control sonar unit for water. It’s a three-foot boat used to scan a body of water and detect anything out of place. They also have a drone that can tell if a piece of ground has been disturbed.

“This is the worst game of hide and seek that you could ever play,” said Rader. “Let’s find this little girl and then everything else will fall into place.”

The Department of Children’s Services confirmed they are also participating in the investigation into the disappearance of 5-year-old Summer Wells. Officials said, due to state confidentiality laws, there is little they can disclose regarding the investigation.

Anyone with credible information is urged to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.

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