It’s the first official update in nearly a month.
In a statement, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that law enforcement is not responsible for an image of a purported vehicle linked to the case circulating on social media – nor have investigators asked for fundraising assistance.
“It has been brought to our attention that a photo of what the truck may look like has been circulating on social media, along with claims that the vehicle has been located,” the statement read. “This is not accurate. Additionally, the photo was not released by law enforcement.”
Investigators have been searching for a 1998 to 2000 model year maroon or red Toyota Tacoma with a full-sized ladder rack and white buckets in the bed that may have been near the Wells’ home at Beech Creek Road and Benn Hill Road on June 14, 15 or 16. The driver has been described as a possible witness.
“We are also aware of individuals asking for donations from the public under the pretense that they are assisting law enforcement in the search for Summer,” the TBI statement continued. “Agents and Hawkins County detectives have not requested investigative assistance from any private citizen.”
The subject of social media rumors has surfaced in the case before. Authorities asked the public to stop reporting rumors and speculation early in the investigation after they received hundreds of tips but no solid leads.
Then Don Wells, Summer’s dad, released a statement to the local WJHL-TV condemning “negativity” on social media that he said isn’t helping anyone find the missing girl.
“People on social media are only adding to the pain the family is going through,” he said. “It’s affecting my other children, who are already hurting.”
Summer’s parents, Wells and Candus Bly, have said they believe their daughter was lured out of the house and taken. A large search effort of the surrounding area turned up nothing.
The couple’s other children, three boys, have since been placed in Tennessee Department of Child Protective Services custody for reasons unrelated to Summer’s disappearance, local media reported last week.
A spokeswoman for CPS told Fox News the agency is participating in the investigation but could not provide further comment.
An Amber Alert remains in effect for Summer.
She is about 3 feet tall and weighs around 40 pounds. At the time she went missing, she was wearing gray pants, a pink shirt and may have been barefoot. Her blonde hair is believed to be shorter than it appears in most of the pictures of her that authorities have circulated to help the search.
The TBI said it could not release additional details in the open investigation but said it would “immediately” notify the public should investigators uncover new information that could help find Summer.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation releases missing Summer Wells update on alleged fundraisers, vehicle photo