'Not knowing where your child is is torture.' Mothers of missing children relate to Wells family

5-year-old Summer Wells vanished June 15
Summer Wells Amber Alert
Posted at 6:01 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 19:24:54-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — During the initial search for Nieko Lisi, his mother Monica Button went through a lot.

"I was accused of hiding my son," Monica Button said. "[Told] that I knew where he was and I must have been sending him money. I was a wreck. It was torture."

Lisi was last seen on September 30, 2011. His phone last pinged in Franklin.

"He was 18-years-old, but he was an 18-year-old kid. You have those that say he's 18-years-old. He was an adult, but out of the other side of their mouth, if it was there son, they would say he was only an 18-year-old kid," Button said.

Being the parent of a missing child is her cross to bear, but she knows strangers are suffering too, like the family of Summer Wells.

"I don't know what happened to that little girl, but being a mother and not knowing where your child is is torture," Button said.

Five-year-old Summer Wells disappeared on June 15 from her family's home in Hawkins County. She is one of 16 missing children listed on the website of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Also on the TBI's website is Bethany Markowski. She is one of the 13 children who have reached 18-years-old that investigators are still looking for.

"It's hard, as a parent, to kind of let go and trust that other people, law enforcement and social media and things like that, that they're going to do the right things and they're going to continue to work," said Jonnie Carter, Bethany's mother.

Markowski was 11-years-old when she was last seen in Jackson in March of 2001.

Her mother created Tennessee Missing Children's Day in her honor.

"You're just so hopeful. You need to keep that. You need to hang on to that. Never let go of your hope... and follow up with law enforcement all the time. Don't let them forget who you are and don't let them forget who your child is," Carter said.

The investigation into the disappearance of Summer Wells now focuses on the possibility of foul play. The reward money is up to more than $40,000. If you can help with the investigation call 1-800-TBI-FIND.