Were you or someone you know driving a reddish Toyota pickup truck around the Beech Creek and Ben Hill roads area of Hawkins County on June 14 or 15?
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation would like to talk with that driver about what he or she saw that could be related to the case of 5-year-old Summer Wells. She was reported missing June 15.
“We received information that a Toyota pickup truck was seen in the area of Beech Creek Road and Ben Hill Road in the late afternoon to early evening on either Monday, June 14th, or Tuesday, June 15th,” TBI spokeswoman Leslie Earhart said in an statement released Saturday.
“The pickup is possibly a 1998-2000 maroon or red Toyota Tacoma, with a full bed ladder rack along with white buckets in the truck bed.
“We have been unable to identify the driver of this truck. Due to this, we are asking this driver to contact us at 1-800-TBI-FIND. We would like to speak with you to confirm this information and ask what you may have heard or seen at the time. If you are the driver of this truck, please contact us,” she wrote. “We want to stress that this individual is not a suspect, but is a potential witness who may have heard or seen something that may help us in our search for Summer.”
As of this Sunday evening, it will have been a dozen days since Summer was reported missing from her parents’ Beech Creek home in eastern Hawkins County. Tips received by the TBI are approaching 500.
“As we’ve previously mentioned, we have been working around the clock to identify anyone who may have been in the area around the time 5-year-old Summer Wells disappeared to determine what they may have seen or heard, no matter how insignificant it may have seemed to them at the time,” Earhart wrote. “Every detail is important.”
Police say the family says Summer was last seen at her home on the evening of June 15 at about 6:30 p.m. Much of the area has a Rogersville address but is on the eastern end of the county closer to Kingsport.
Summer stands 3 feet tall, and she is 40 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing gray pants and a pink shirt and might have been barefoot.
The TBI, in coordination from authorities in Hawkins County and authorities from multiple jurisdictions and states, has been combing the area around the family home. Her image and designation as a missing child has been on billboards in this region and other parts of the Southeast.
“Search efforts do remain underway through the weekend,” TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland said. “The tip search as of this afternoon (Saturday) stands at 468.”
A TBI video of the search dated June 24 shows officials going through a field looking for the girl or clues to her whereabouts, while another photo of an overgrown area from June 25 shows more difficult terrain searchers face.
Anyone who has seen Summer or has information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 272-7121 or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.