Carlie Trent’s kidnapper, Gary Simpson, appeared in court for the second time since the 9-year-old girl was rescued in Hawkins County, Tennessee, nearly two weeks ago.
Simpson appeared in court for the first time on Monday, May 16, after allegeldy abducting his niece from her elementary school on May 4 in Rogersville.
WBIR reports that on Monday, a judge ordered a mental evaluation on Simpson. The evaluation could take up to 6 weeks.
Gary Simpson’s case is being scheduled for July 13.
Simpson had a new look when he appeared before the judge in a Hawkins County courtroom. His hair and mustache had been shaved off, rendering him a far cleaner appearance.
WJHL reports that Simpson was seen smiling and waving to someone in the courtroom.
As previously reported, Carlie Trent’s alleged kidnapper faces charges of especially aggravated kidnapping and custodial interference. The two were gone for 9 days until they were found by private land owners who were searching their expansive property for Carlie near Clinch Mountain.
Last week, Simpson told the judge that he didn’t understand the charges against him, arguing that he only did something that the girlfriend of Carlie’s father does all the time.
Judge orders mental evaluation for Gary Simpson – Expected to take several weeks https://t.co/dWZHHvvjos pic.twitter.com/XUaIg8PuRX
— WBIR Channel 10 (@wbir) May 23, 2016
The 58-year-old is Carlie Trent’s uncle by marriage. He and his wife once had parental custody of her, but a judge granted her father, James Trent, custody not too long ago. The school system didn’t have updated records and therefore had no reason to challenge Simpson when he arrived to pick her up. He told school administrators that her father had been in a car accident and was sent to get her. He also told the school that she’d likely be absent the following day.
Carlie’s father said he was never in an accident.
The girl’s family noticed she was missing when she didn’t return home from school on the afternoon of her disappearance.
Two videos showed Gary Simpson preparing for the trip when he shopped at Walmart and Save-A-Lot. In one of the videos, he was recorded purchasing a night gown, lipstick, and a bikini, along with other supplies suited for going on a road trip, or camping. Another video showed Carlie with him when he made the purchases.
Whatever investigators are gathering in this case, it’s not being shared with the public. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations announced that from here on out, there won’t be as much information released as prosecutors build their case against Simpson.
A motive in the Carlie Trent kidnapping remains a mystery. After she was rescued, she was sent to the hospital for examination before returning home. The former missing Tennessee girl had a happy homecoming and was seen playing with her younger sister. On the exterior, she seemed fine and showed no outward signs of trauama, but mental health experts say it’s impossible to know what happened when Carlie was with her uncle for 9 straight days. When she and Simpson were found by two land owners, the girl was present while her uncle was held at gunpoint until help arrived. That alone could’ve been traumatic, one psychologist pointed out.
Gary Simpson’s aunt spoke with reporters outside of the courthouse on Monday. The woman fought back tears when she said no one understands why her nephew abducted Carlie the way he did. She said he’d been a good person all of his life and had never gotten a speeding ticket.
— Laura Halm (@WATELauraHalm) May 23, 2016
Simpson’s wife, Linda Simpson, told Nancy Grace and other reporters that she never wants to see him again. On the day Carlie Trent disappeared, Mrs. Simpson said her husband showed no unusual behaviors. He didn’t take anything from the house with him except two coats.
Motives in this kidnapping case remain a mystery.
[Photo by Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office via AP Images]