A missing 9-year-old Tennessee girl has been found safe and her uncle is in custody, the U.S. Marshals say.
Carlie Trent was found in Hawkins County, Tennessee, on May 12, eight days after she was reported missing, WVLT-TV reports. Her uncle has been arrested.
Investigators said Carlie was signed out of her school in the town of Rogersville by her 57-year-old uncle Gary Simpson. He previously had custody of Carlie but that guardianship had recently been transferred over to her father. Records held by the school had not yet been updated to show the change in guardianship, so school officials allowed Carlie to be signed out by her uncle without issue.
Police had previously said Carlie was in “imminent danger.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Authorities Say Simpson Bought ‘Camping Supplies’ as Well as Young Girls’ Clothes at a Walmart the Night Before Trent Vanished
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman Josh DeVine told the media that surveillance footage from a Walmart in Rogersville taken from May 3, showed Gary Simpson shopping for items. The Knoxville News-Sentinel lists those items as “”plush throw” blanket, a men’s short-sleeve green shirt, men’s black pants, girls’ khaki pants, a girls’ multi-pack of underwear, two shades of lipstick, two shades of nail polish, a child’s folding camp chair, a child-sized purple nightgown and a bikini.”
The following day, cops say Simpson went to Trent’s school and signed her out claiming that her father had been in an accident. The two then went to a Save-a-Lot grocery store and bought non-perishable food items.
Simpson is a native of the town of Rogersville, just under 75 miles east of Knoxville.
2. There Had Been No Confirmed Sightings of the Pair, With Cops Saying They Believed Simpson Was Holed Up in an ‘Isolated Area’
Police went to Hawkins County, Tennessee, on May 12 after a reported sighting. There had previously been no sightings of the girl and her uncle.
According to a TBI news release, authorities thought that Simpson was holed up in an “isolated area,” such as a camping ground. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman Josh DeVine told the News-Sentinel: “There’s every indication that he intended to go out of sight. We believe this girl is in imminent danger.”
They were thought to be traveling in Simpson’s white Dodge van with a Tennessee licence plate reading 173GBP. Authorities said the van “has a dark stripe down the middle with light gold running boards and the paint is chipping off the hood.”
3. The Hashtag ‘#BringCarlieHome’ Became a National Trending Topic on Twitter After She Vanished
In the aftermath of Trent’s disappearance, the hashtag, “#BringCarlieHome” became a national trending topic on Twitter. Among those tweeting was Tennessee congresswoman Diane Black who said she was praying that Trent returned home.
On the night of May 7, a vigil was held for Trent in Rogersville. WBIR reported that the crowds wore purple, her favorite color. At the event, the missing girl’s mother Shannon Trent said, “I really am so thankful to every single one of you for helping, for being there. I just want her to come home.”
4. Her Father Believes That Simpson Could Have ‘Evil Intentions’
Trent’s father James Trent told the Kingsport Times-News that he’s worried that his brother-in-law through marriage could have “evil intentions.”
5. The FBI & U.S. Marshals Joined the Hunt for Trent & Simpson
With Simpson and Trent missing for six days, the FBI announced on May 10 that they were joining the search for the pair. The feds say that Trent “should be considered an endangered victim.”
The U.S. Marshals were also involved.
Anyone with information concerning the kidnapping of Carlie Marie Trent should contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s tip line at 1-800-TBI-FIND (824-3463), the FBI’s Knoxville field office at (865) 544-0751 or the TBI on 1-800-824-3463.