Summer Wells Dr Phil interview: Missing five-year-old's dad uses 'guilty language' and mom 'fades facts', expert claims

THE parents of missing five-year-old Summer Wells exhibited "guilty language" when they were quizzed over their daughter's mysterious disappearance, two body language experts have claimed.

Summer's parents, Candus and Don Wells, appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil on Thursday where they were interviewed by behavior analysts and body language experts Scott Rouse and Greg Hartley.

Summer Moon-Utah Wells was last seen on June 15 outside of her family's home in Hawkins County's Beach Creek Community, Tennessee.

Her family said at the time that she had been in the front yard planting flowers with her mother and grandmother when she disappeared back inside the home to play with her toys at around 6.30pm. She was never seen again.

Don, who was at work at the time, and his wife have long maintained that his daughter was abducted by an unknown perpetrator, but so far no evidence has surfaced to support the theory.

The parents have been accused across social media of being involved in Summer's vanishing, even receiving death threats. They have vehemently denied those claims.


Rouse and Hartley sat down with the pair to assess whether they may be lying about Summer's disappearance and their repeated claims they don't know where she is or what happened to her.

The experts told Dr. Phil that during their discussion they spotted behaviors in each that gave them cause to be suspicious.

First focusing on Don, they asked him: "What do you say to people who think you were involved, who think your family was involved?"

Don responded with a lengthy and slightly convoluted statement, recounting how he spent for months accepting friends requests on Facebook – which he called the best "possible tool" to find someone – and speaking on the phone trying to locate Summer.

He also spoke of a group on Facebook that was "combatting" him and Candus the "whole time."

"When I asked him this question, what I was saying was 'how do you respond to people who say you did this?'" Hartley explained to Dr. Phil of the exchange back in the studio.

"I expected [Don to say] 'Well, no I didn't.' But he doesn't. He goes on to talk about Facebook.

"In usual interrogations, we assume that is deceptive and avoiding [the question]."

Rouse added: "When Greg asked him how he responded to that he's talking about responding to people on Facebook, he's talking about responding to people on YouTube he's had a whole lot of flack come from that direction.

"So I understood that he didn't see it as when an investigator asked you that question or when I asked that question, he said, in other words, he took it as 'when social media asks you that question how do you respond to them?'"


Don was also quizzed by the pair as to whether he has any "doubts" about Candus' recollection of events leading up to Summer's disappearance.

"No not the way it played out," Don Wells responded. "Everything like that I mean, yeah, you always have questions, and I'd ask myself and but the way this happened and her emotions and state of mind…"

Don was then asked what questions he had, to which he responded: "I mean I questions … no I don't really have questions."

Dr. Phil said he observed Don contradict himself several times, saying "no and yes" in the same sentence while "stammering and stuttering all over the place."

Hartley added: "For me, you'll notice his eyes are dropping down to his left he's having kind of an internal conversation about how do I answer this very complicated question.

"And I think he edits he speaks and never finishes a sentence."

Jumping in, Dr. Phil said it's "very clear to me" that Don was "holding something back … something he has knowledge of" regarding Summer's disappearance.

The trio then turned their attention to Candus, whom they accused of "fading facts."


They began by focusing on Candus' reaction when they asked her what she thinks should happen to the person that "took" Summer.

Before answering, Candus closed her eyes and paused.

The experts said this was a classic example of "blocking or escaping"

She then stammered, after taking a deep breath, "they should be put away for the rest of their lives. I mean, they should be tormented I think."

Characterizing Candus' behavior, Rouse said: "There's a lot going on here. She's not sure what she should say. Everything she's going says 'I'm unsure and shouldn't be saying this.'"

In a later exchange during their interview, Candus breaks down in tears when they ask her and Don about organized crime in their area, suggesting Summer may have been kidnapped by the "cornbread mafia", a colloquial term that refers to a grassroots, organized crime ring.

While Don attempted to answer the question, insisting he's heard of gang activity in their neighborhood, Candus turns to him and says: "Get these wires off of me."

As she attempts to rip the microphone off of her jacket, Don tries to calm her down.

She shrugs off his comfort, telling him "I want out … I'm being interrogated again," before storming off.

"We call this insulating and running," Rouse said. "She insulates when she starts crying so we can't get to her. In other words, psychologically we can't speak to her and we see the emotion as soon as I say cornbread mafia.

"There as we see that mouth starts dragging down within seconds and that's how long it takes to get into the brain … and say 'hey, this isn't good.'"


Hartley adds that Candus' behavior could be a sign of "guilt or fear".

"It could be a number of things," he added. "We can't read minds. But we can read symptoms – and those symptoms are pretty clear."

Don and Candus are due to sit down with Dr. Phil for a full interview on Thursday.

Very few updates on the case have been shared by police since Summer disappeared.

But on Thursday, local police issued a statement saying they "noticed an uptick in misinformation being spread online" about the case.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is urging people to stop sharing bogus theories and to only share "factual information" in a bid to help find Summer.

On Twitter, the police statement read: "We’ve noticed an uptick in misinformation being spread online about the search for 5-year-old Summer Wells, who went missing from her home in Hawkins County in June.

"We want to be clear that we’re doing everything within our power to find her. #SummerWells"

Cops also shared pictures of the exhaustive search for the child which showed dive teams exploring waterways, aerial searches and specially trained sniffer dogs.

They added: "All available surveillance photos and videos have been collected and reviewed.

"Additionally, neighborhood canvases were conducted in an effort to make sure we didn’t miss any residential cameras."

Investigators also insisted they have "not given up" hunting for Summer.

They tweeted: "No one is more frustrated than us by the lack of answers at this stage. However, we haven’t given up, and we won’t."

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