We're learning more about the day that 9-year-old Carlie Trent was taken from her school by her uncle more than a week ago, triggering an Amber Alert and a widespread search for the pair.
Carlie was found safe in a rural area of Hawkins County on Thursday by four men who'd been searching the woods for days. Her uncle by marriage, Gary Simpson, was arrested and charged with especially aggravated kidnapping.
TBI said early on that Simpson picked up Carlie from school under "false pretenses."
Now, from the affidavit drawn up to place charges against Simpson, we know that Simpson arrived at Hawkins Elementary School in Rogersville on Wednesday afternoon, May 4, to pick Carlie up from school. He said that Carlie's dad, James Trent, had been in a car accident and that Carlie would probably not be in school the next day.
I just saw #CarlieTrent with my own eyes. She just returned home from the hospital and is running, playing & smiling with her sister!
Because Simpson had previously had custody of Carlie and was on the approved list to pick her up from school, she was allowed to go with him. School officials said they followed proper procedure, and the TBI agreed, saying the school did nothing wrong. School officials had not been informed that custody of Carlie had been returned to her father.
According to the affidavit, they left the school at approximately 1:25.
Trent was alerted to Carlie's disappearance when she did not arrive home on the school bus. He met officers at the school and confirmed that Simpson had picked her up by looking at surveillance video.
Trent told officers that it wasn't like Gary to not to return home with the child and he hadn't given Simpson permission to pick her up.
An Endangered Child Alert was issued that evening, which TBI upgraded to an Amber Alert the next day.
The TBI said that Simpson had gone to the bank to withdraw money and to Walmart to buy clothing and camping supplies before he picked Carlie up. Once he had her, the two were spotted at a local Save A Lot buying groceries.
Then, they disappeared for more than a week.
Despite receiving hundreds of tips from all over the country and asking people everywhere to check campgrounds and rural areas where the pair might by camping, the TBI focused their efforts on Hawkins County.
It was four men who were familiar with the rural area that ended up finding Carlie on Thursday afternoon. She was taken to a Johnson City hospital to be checked out, but she was released on Friday, where she was seen running around in the yard, playing with her younger sister.
Simpson was being held in the Hawkins County Jail on a million dollar bond. His first court appearance is set for Monday.
Sunday, August 20 2017 3:11 PM EDT2017-08-20 19:11:20 GMT
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