Anguished mother searches for daughter missing 4 years

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Donna Wells-Davis trudged through a heavy rain, asking strangers questions and passing out fliers. It’s a recurring chore since her 29-year-old daughter Tamala Wells was last seen nearly four years ago.

“I’ve been in vacant houses; went through garbage dumps; knocked on so many doors,” she said. “People who have never gone through this can’t understand. It’s a very scary feeling; like you’re being called by a voice.

“It’s an assignment laid out for you: Find her.”

Wells, a mother of two, was last seen Aug. 6, 2012, leaving her home in the 19700 block of Appleton near Telegraph on the city’s west side. She drove away in her white 2001 four-door Pontiac Grand Prix, which was recovered on Coventry on the east side, near State Fair and John R.

Wells-Davis was among several community members and police officials who attended a recent Crime Stoppers of Michigan press conference near the site where the car was found.

After the press briefing, Davis passed out fliers in the area, and knocked on doors, asking residents if they’d seen anything. She was helped by a unit of Detroit Police recruits and members of religious and community groups, including Minister Malik Shabazz’s New Black Panther/Marcus Garvey Movement and the Detroit Community Clergy Alliance.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Detroit Police Sgt. Marcellas Ball, who is in charge of the investigation, said detectives are working the case.

“We’ve searched this area several times, and have gotten a few leads that didn’t pan out,” he said. “As of today, we’re still receiving leads. In no way is this a cold case; we’re still working it extensively.

“I can’t tell you everything because it’s an active investigation, but we do have a few theories we’re working on.”

Wells is a trained phlebotomist who hoped to become a registered nurse. She has a son, James, and a daughter, Nevaeh. Wells volunteered to help elderly people in her neighborhood, her mother said.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with: To be out here searching, but not really knowing where to search,” Wells-Davis said. “It’s been a lot of long days, and a lot of hurting nights.

“I’ve come so far, and I’ll keep on coming. I know somebody out there knows something. People don’t just vanish off the face of the Earth.”

Shabazz called for more citizens to get involved.

“If we can kill over car radios — and we do — then we ought to at least be able to stand up when someone in our community needs help,” he said. “If you decide to get up and stand up, more citizens will get involved. This family deserves it.”

(313) 222-2134


Tips sought

■Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Michigan at (800) 773-2587.

■Anonymous tips may also be given by clicking on; or by texting CSM and the tip to 274637.