UPDATE (May 13, 2015):
Authorities in Rogersville, Tennessee, are heaving a hefty sigh of relief today because Carlie Marie Trent, the nine-year-old girl who went missing earlier this week, has been found safe and sound. And it’s all thanks to Donnie Lawson and Stuart Franklin, two brave citizens who took it upon themselves to scour a parcel of remote back country and called police when they found Trent with, as had been suspected, her uncle, Gary Simpson.
According to CBS News, the area was so remote that police needed to use four-wheelers to even reach the area where Franklin and Lawson had rescued the girl and held Simpson at gunpoint to prevent him from getting away. Cops arrested the uncle — whom Trent’s father said had become “obsessed” with the little girl — and he’s been charged with especially aggravated kidnapping, though additional charges could be possible.
Police took Carlie to a local hospital to be checked out, but she allegedly appeared unharmed and in good health.
Authorities said a nine-year-old Tennessee girl allegedly taken by her uncle is in “imminent danger,” claiming that he bought a bikini and makeup prior to her abduction.
In addition to a $15,000 reward for her safe return, an Amber Alert was issued for Carlie Marie Trent of Rogersville. The girl was signed out of school by Gary Simpson — who had recently lost custody after her father’s rights were restored — the Associated Press reports.
The 57-year-old was reportedly seen at a Walmart before the incident buying a nightgown, children’s khaki pants, lipstick, and a child’s camping chair. He was later filmed at Save-A-Lot purchasing non-perishable items. “There’s every indication that he intended to go out of sight,” Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman Josh DeVine said, according to CNN. “We believe this girl is in imminent danger.”
Trent is described as being 4′ 8″, 75 pounds, and having blonde hair and blue eyes. Simpson is 5′ 10″, 157 pounds, has brown eyes and balding brown hair, and is driving a white 2002 Dodge Conversion Van with Tennessee plates 173-GPS.
Though authorities have received more than 500 tips so far, they say none of them have cracked the case.
“Your family is eager to hear from you, and your family is eager and anxious to have Carlie home. We would encourage you, Gary, to do the right thing and bring Carlie home,” DeVine said on behalf of the girl’s family. “There is nothing that you’ve done that can’t be fixed.”
Photos: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation