TBI: Two heroes found and saved Carlie Trent
TBI director Mark Gwyn said two local men, Donnie Lawson and Roger Carpenter, a minister, located Carlie and Gary Simpson on private property on Clinch Mountain in Hawkins County.
HAWKINS COUNTY (WBIR) - After more than a week, the nationwide search for Carlie Trent is over. The missing 9-year-old Rogersville girl was located safe in the very county where she was taken.
TBI director Mark Gwyn said two local men, Donnie Lawson and Roger Carpenter, a minister, located Carlie and Gary Simpson on private property on Clinch Mountain, which is in the northern part of Hawkins County.
Simpson, an uncle who previously had custody of Carlie, picked her up from school last Wednesday under false pretenses. They hadn't been seen since that day, until now.
Gwyn said the two men, who he called heroes, held Simpson at gun point until authorities arrived. They were located in a rural area with very limited cell phone service. It was accessible only by four-wheeler. Simpson was taken to the Hawkins County Jail.
Carlie appeared to be okay but was being taken to a hospital to be checked out.
Her mother, Shannon Trent, told 10News that Carlie was safe. She said she was so relieved, and so happy, to get that call.
We also spoke with Linda Simpson, Gary Simpson's wife. Linda said she couldn't wait to see Carlie, who was being taken to a hospital in Johnson City. She said she had no desire to speak to her husband at this point, but she still wants to know why he took her.
That's a question that TBI still can't answer at this point. They also aren't sure at this time if Carlie and Simpson were in the same general area for the eight days they've been out of sight. Gwyn said the white van they were searching for was near where the pair was found.
TBI cast a wide net for the search, and fielded hundreds of tips from several states, but Gwyn said their information and experience led them to believe that the two were likely still close to home.
Since Carlie's disappearance, authorities and the public have been searching for her across the country. In Hawkins County, community members organized several searches to comb through the rural areas. The public's help finally paid off.
"It was the public who rescued Carlie. Without their assistance, I wouldn't be standing here right now," said Gwyn.
Gwyn believed the two men were doing as the TBI asked, checking out rural properties where the two could have been hiding.
Carlie was picked up at school by her uncle, Gary Simpson, under false pretenses last Wednesday. Simpson had custody of Carlie in the past, but no longer does. The two were last spotted buying supplies at a grocery store in Rogersville after Carlie was picked up at school, but they haven't been spotted since.
The TBI initially issued an endangered child alert, but upgraded to an Amber Alert last Thursday after receiving information that indicated Carlie could be in danger.
Simpson was added to the TBI's Top 10 Most Wanted List on Thursday. He faces an enhanced charge of especially aggravated kidnapping.