Search continues for missing 9-year-old Carlie Trent and Uncle

Carlie Trent was taken from school under false pretenses, according to TBI.

This video, released by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, shows Carlie Trent playing with her dad’s cell phone. TBI said they hope it will help others spot the 9-year-old.

ROGERSVILLE (WATE) – Still no confirmed sightings, but Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is working on investigating hundreds of tips on an Amber Alert that was issue for Carlie Trent.

TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said at a press conference Tuesday morning that the search for Carlie Trent and her uncle Gary Simpson is ongoing and will continue until she is found or there are no more leads. The number of tips that have come in has increased to over 500, but so far there have been no verified sightings.

“As the days go, our concern for this child only continues to grow. It is absolutely paramount that we bring this girl home as quickly as possible,” said Josh DeVine, a spokesperson for TBI.

The 9-year-old was removed from school Wednesday by her uncle by marriage, Gary Simpson, 57, under false pretenses, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). Police say Gary Simpson told school officials Trent’s father was in a car accident and she may not be in school on Thursday as well. They said Gary Simpson has no custodial rights to Carlie Trent and their whereabouts are unknown.

The Tennessee Amber Alert has been extended to Missouri after a possible sighting in the Otterville, Missouri, area on Monday. The Cooper County, Missouri, sheriff said someone spotted a van similar to Simpson’s near the Lamine River. Units searched the area, utilizing boats and aircraft as well as ground units, but later learned the van was not the van described in the Amber Alert. Officials then investigated a sighting of two people in a canoe who seem to match the description of Trent and Simpson. The identities of the persons in the photo were later confirmed not to be Trent and Simpson.

TBI released new photos Tuesday of items purchased by Gary Simpson at a Walmart in Rogersville before picking-up Carlie Trent from school. They include a pink and purple zebra print blanket, a green shirt and black pants Gary Simpson purchased for himself, khaki pants and girl’s underwear purchase for Carlie Tent, pink and green nail polish, pink and purple lipstick, a pink child’s camp chair, a child’s night gown with purple stars and a black and pink bikini.

TBI also released higher quality video of Carlie Trent and Gary Simspon in the Save-A-Lot in Rogersville, their last known sighting.

“The reason we released that video from the Save-A-Lot is you can tell a lot by the way someone walks, so maybe they’re not in their vehicle anymore, maybe they are walking down the side of the road,” said DeVine. “We’re hoping that someone recognizes their gait and say I’ve seen someone walk that way. You can tell a lot by the way someone moves and by the way someone walks and we’re hoping that will be an additional piece of information that will help the public recognize them.”

The U.S. Marshal’s Service is increasing their portion of the reward to $5,000, raising the grand total to over $15,000. DeVine also directly addressed Simpson, pleading with him to bring the girl home.

“This community wants you to do the right thing, Gary, and bring Carlie home,” he said. “There is nothing that has happened that can’t be corrected.”

CiDx30IW0AADi-PDeVine said earlier U.S. Marshals and TBI have set up command posts in Rogersville. Tennessee Highway Patrol is also doing air searches on an as needed basis, but DeVine described using air searches as looking for “a needle in a haystack.”

While DeVine said TBI still has no specific information on where Gary Simpson and Carlie Trent could be, he said they set up in Rogersville because it is the epicenter of the search. Rogersville police issued warrants for kidnapping for Gary Simpson. DeVine said there are also some additional factors that TBI is not releasing in the search.

Mobile Command Post for U.S. Marshals in Rogersville (WJHL)
Mobile Command Post for U.S. Marshals in Rogersville (WJHL)

“Suffice it to say we’ve developed some information that only adds to our concern for this child’s well-being, but I can’t really get into particulars,” added DeVine. “There is no indication that Gary Simpson made any immediate threats, but we do know he was not truthful.”

Rogersville Police Chief Doug Nelson says Gary Simpson is on Carlie Trent’s pick-up list at school but they believe he lied to school staff on Wednesday, saying Carlie’s dad had been in a bad car accident.

“So they signed the child out to him and he also made a statement which I think is kind of a key element to this too ‘She probably won’t be back in school tomorrow either.’ Which is kind of a red flag to us,” said Chief Nelson.


DeVine said TBI is holding out hope that Carlie Trent is alive and is urging the community to do the same. He said the Amber Alert will remain in affect until the case comes to a conclusion.

“We have three outstanding Amber Alerts that have been in place for more than a year,” said Devine. “Once we escalate to an Amber Alert, we don’t deescalate until we resolve the situation.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Rogersville Police Department at (423) 272-7555 or 1-800-TBI-FIND. TBI said if anyone spots the van should call 911 directly.

Rewards offered for Carlie Trent’s return

The United States Marshal’s Service announced Monday they are increasing their previous reward of $2,500 to $5,000 reward for the safe return of Trent and for information leading to Gary Simpson’s arrest.

On Saturday, Carlie’s pediatrician, Dr. Chris Calendine, informed the TBI he will offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to the safe recovery of the child. Dr. Calendine previously planned to use the money to save for a boat but indicated he would rather see the money used to further the effort to bring Carlie home.

A Nashville musician wants to add to the reward as well. Trey Healy, a dog groomer by day and a musician by night, wants to add $5,000.

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