ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. - More than five months after officials issued an Amber Alert for a missing 5-year-old northeast Tennessee girl, multiple agencies returned to the rugged terrain surrounding her home in hopes of finding closure for her family.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation led a planned search for 5-year-old Summer Moon-Utah Wells on Tuesday. Investigators said they were focusing on areas "previously difficult to access due to high grass and heavy foliage."
This is one of the dozens of searches that have taken place in the more than five months since the little girl disappeared in June from her family home in the Beech Creek community of Hawkins County, Tennessee.
"Crews have returned today, now that seasons have changed and the landscape is more visible, in a continued search for anything that might help the case," the TBI wrote in a tweet about the search.
About 12 agencies participated in Tuesday’s search including two K-9 teams and aerial surveillance experts.
Unfortunately, there have been no reports of any new leads uncovered from Tuesday's search.
When was Summer Wells last seen?
Summer Moon-Utah Wells was last seen at her home in the Beech Creek community of Hawkins County, Tennessee on the afternoon of June 15. Officials from more than four dozen agencies turned the Beech Creek community upside down looking for the young girl for weeks. Specialized units searched more than a thousand acres by foot and air. Dive teams were also brought in to search nearby lakes and ponds.
Summer Wells (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)
Is the search for Summer Wells still considered active?
While the initial active search has long been suspended, law enforcement officials said they will do any search based on credible information, but that information has been lacking. Officials said the search like the one conducted on Tuesday was due to the changes in terrain conditions. They are also urging all residents in the area to continue to check their properties, especially as the overgrowth dies down due to the cooler weather, for any evidence Summer may have been on their property.
Is the investigation into Summer Wells' disappearance still active?
Investigators said they have sifted through thousands of tips, but have been met with mostly dead ends. Most tips are generated by well-intentioned individuals on social media who have been spreading speculation and conjecture rather than having any real first-hand knowledge, investigators said. In the past month, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said they have seen a significant increase in the number of speculation-based tips.
Officials said they are not releasing too many details including the exact timeline behind the young girl's disappearance as it is important to the ongoing investigation.
The sheriff said investigators have scoured through all the available surveillance video they could find that was near the young girl's home, but it is a very rural residential area, so cameras are few and far between.
Was Summer Wells abducted?
While investigators do not have any evidence that Summer was abducted, they have been covering all their bases. They have interviewed known sex offenders in the area. They also have been following up on all vehicle descriptions given to them that may have been in the area that day.
One of those vehicles law enforcement officials would like to find is a 1998-2000 maroon or red Toyota Tacoma, with a full bed ladder rack and white buckets in the truck bed. A witness who is regularly in the area as part of his job spotted the truck in the area. Investigators would like to speak to the driver.
The TBI has added a Q&A to their blog about Summer's disappearance on their website to help the public understand what has been done in the case so far.
Have Summer Wells' parents been investigated?
FOX News previously reported both of Summer's parents have criminal records.
Don Wells, Summer's father, has been convicted of multiple violent felonies and served prison time for convictions involving drugs and burglaries in Arkansas, Utah, and Texas. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he was cited for numerous parole violations.
Summer’s mother, Candus Bly, also has a criminal record in the state of Wisconsin, most recently a guilty plea on misdemeanor domestic abuse charges in 2003.
Sheriff Lawson had previously stated he didn't believe Don Wells' criminal history played into the case. He said Summer lives with her parents and three siblings at their home.
The sheriff said Summer’s parents are continuing to cooperate fully in the investigation.
What is the last description given of Summer Wells?
Summer is described by investigators as being 3-feet tall, weighing about 40 pounds, with blonde hair, and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing gray pants and a pink shirt. She is believed to be barefoot and her hair is now shorter than photos released by the TBI.
Who should be contacted with information in the disappearance of Summer Wells?
Anyone who sees Summer is asked to call 911 immediately. Anyone with any information about her whereabouts is asked to call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND or the Hawkins County Sheriff's Office at 423-272-7121.
The FBI is also assisting in the case.
This story is being reported out of Atlanta