Carlie Trent’s alleged kidnapper, Gary Simpson, remains at Hawkins County Jail in solitary confinement and on suicide watch.
News Channel 9 reports that Trent’s uncle and alleged abductor has turned 58 while in police custody. His mental state is such that he’s on suicide watch while being held in solitary confinement. It’s likely he’ll remain there for at least 24 hours, says Sheriff Ronnie Lawson.
District Attorney Dan Armstrong said Simpson’s bond is set at $1 million. Trent’s alleged kidnapper is scheduled to appear in Hawkins County General Sessions Court on Monday at 8:30 p.m.
Simpson’s volatile mental state prompted officers to put him in what’s called a “turtle suit” to deter him from trying to kill himself. The vest prevents inmates from using clothes to hang themselves.
— WMC Action News 5 (@WMCActionNews5) May 12, 2016
No motive has been uncovered in the Carlie Trent kidnapping case. Gary Simpson has no prior criminal record and showed no signs to anyone that he was planning to abduct the 9-year-old girl. He picked Carlie up from her elementary school in Rogersville, Tennessee, on May 4. After eight long days, Simpson was found in Hawkings County at a remote area accessible only by ATV. Two men were on a mission to find the missing girl on the vast property and are now considered heroes. Simpson was held at gunpoint until authorities arrived.
Simpson is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.
Armstrong said they’ll look closely at Gary Simpson’s past, in addition to interviewing other family members in an effort to build their case against him.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations said Simpson may face more charges.
Armstrong says the especially aggravated kidnapping charge carries 15 to 60 years, if convicted. The sentence hinges on Simpson’s criminal record, which has reportedly been clean until now.
Simpson’s past actions with children will be investigated. Carlie’s father, James Trent, told news reporters earlier this week that Simpson has always been “obsessed” with his daughter.
Gary Simpson and his wife, Linda Simpson, had previously been granted parental custody of Carlie until a judge recently restored custody to her father. The school never updated their records, and that was how Simpson was successful in taking Carlie out early on the day she went missing. He informed staff that her father was in an accident and that she probably wouldn’t be in attendance the next day.
James Trent said Simpson’s story was false, and that he hadn’t been in any accident.
Simpson was seen on a Walmart security camera buying various items for Carlie Trent before he took her out of school. A few of the items are “red flags” for investigators.
“We were very concerned about some of the purchases he made, especially the lipstick and makeup,” Armstrong said. “That always causes red flags to go up when you’re purchasing that kind of stuff for a 9-year-old.”
Armstrong explains that they don’t know what Carlie has been through during her kidnapping, but she’s “going to have a lot to overcome.”
The district attorney said information in this case will be limited from here on out.
“We have to balance the public’s right to know with the defense, the defendant’s right to a fair trial, so our comments will be somewhat limited,” he said. “But we are certainly thankful with the help we’ve received from the public.”
— People Magazine (@people) May 14, 2016
As for Carlie Trent’s condition, she was released from the hospital on Friday and returned home. WCYB reports that Linda Simpson is happy to have her niece home and said everyone wants Carlie to enjoy being home and will wait for her to let them know when she’s ready to go back to school. According to footage shown of the former missing Tennessee girl, she’s happy and in good spirits as she rides her bike, plays with the dog, and has fun with her younger sister again.
[Photo by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation via AP Images]