Missing Carlie Trent Is Home And Busy Being A Little Girl Again

Carlie Trent, the missing 9-year-old from Tennessee, is finally home with her family again, according to People. Carlie was rescued by searchers on Thursday in a remote area just miles from her home. Carlie had been missing for eight days and the world held their breath as the days slipped by, knowing all too well that the chances of Carlie being found alive were fading as the sun fell each day.

Carlie Trent, a beautiful blond elementary student, was taken out of school by her uncle, Gary Simpson, 57, on a cloudy Thursday afternoon. Simpson had already prepared for the kidnapping.

Linda Simpson, Gary Simpson’s wife of 34 years, said it started out as just a normal day. He had cereal for breakfast and then left the home. Video surveillance shows Simpson buying camping supplies at Walmart as well as things for Carlie including a swimsuit, nail polish, lipstick, girls underwear, a purple nightgown, and a pink and purple blanket. Simpson then went to Carlie’s school, Hawkins Elementary, telling the staff that Carlie’s father had been in a terrible accident. Gary Simpson was on Carlie’s “safe list.” He checked the 9-year-old out of school early and left with her.

Carlie went with her uncle to Sav-A-Lot where he purchased provisions. Video shows Carlie looking very comfortable with her uncle as he paid for items. James Trent, Carlie’s father, said that she trusted Simpson and Carlie would have gone with him willingly. Family became concerned when Carlie did not get off the school bus with her sister. An Amber Alert was issued the next day.

As the story unravels, it appears that Gary Simpson and his wife briefly had custody of Carlie and her sister while their father, James Trent, served jail time on drug charges. James Trent said that Simpson developed an obsession with Carlie.

Law enforcement asked citizens to search remote areas on their property for any signs of the pair. That’s exactly how Carlie Trent was found. Four men set out on ATVs to search property owned by one of them. The men split up into pairs. Stewart Franklin and Donnie Lawson stumbled upon Simpson and Carlie deep in the woods. NBC News reports that Franklin held Simpson at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived. Today, they are being called heroes and they truly are. Their involvement in the search is what brought Carlie back to her family, rescuing her from an unknown plight.

Franklin said when they found the pair, Carlie was walking around holding a teddy bear. Franklin reflected on the search.

“Every day, walking miles and miles, checking many, many cabins. Each one of us has been praying, you know, every day to help us to find this little girl and so finally, you know, answered prayers.”

After spending a night at Johnson City hospital, Carlie is home again. Linda Simpson, Gary’s wife, was among those waiting for the little girl. Linda Simpson has said she is repulsed with Gary and will not visit him in prison.

Reporters visited Carlie at her home where she was described as being dressed in pink and “playing and giggling” with her little sister. She was seen playing basketball and riding her bike.

TBI Director Mark Gwyn said there is no evidence that Simpson caused any harm to Carlie.

Carlie’s aunt said they’re giving the little girl some space and time to recover. “We’re going to love her and support her.”

As Carlie is happily reunited with her family, police are trying to understand why Gary Simpson kidnapped her. Simpson is charged with aggravated kidnapping but could face other charges as the investigation continues. He is being held on a $1 million bond. District Attorney General Dan Armstrong said Simpson has a hearing Monday morning.

[Image via James Trent/Facebook]