AMBER Alert Continues, Tips Come From 19 States

Posted at 3:55 PM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 09:29:42-04

An AMBER Alert issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for 9-year-old Carlie Marie Trent continued as officials said they’ve “developed specific and credible information which leads law enforcement to believe the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death.”

TBI officials said Carlie’s uncle, Gary Simpson, removed her from school on May 4 under false pretenses. He previously had custody of Carlie, but her father was recently granted custody. 

The TBI confirmed Simpson was still on the list of people approved to pick her up at school.

Those with the TBI said they had received more than 1,500 tips in 19 states, but there had not yet been a confirmed sighting of Carlie or Simpson.

Agents have encouraged people in east Tennessee, along with the entire state, to check their properties. They think the child and her uncle could be camping. 

Simpson and Carlie were both spotted on surveillance cameras at a Save-A-Lot grocery store in Rogersville on May 4. The cashier said they were in the store for about 14 minutes, bought groceries, and didn't act unusual.

"The little girl she was just standing there, not smiling, not talking," recalled Deborah Clamon. "I might have asked him, 'how's your day? Are you having a good day?' like cashiers do.  He said 'yes,' and they just paid and went out."

They were also seen on surveillance cameras at Walmart show Simpson buying camping supplies.   

The missing child's mother, Shannon Trent, spoke to CBS affiliate WJHL saying Simpson lied to the school and they aren't sure why he took the girl.

"Bring her home, Gary, safely," Trent said. "Mommy and Daddy and Aunt Linda and everybody, we love her so much."

Carlie's Father questioned Simpson's motives.

"He had access to her every day, every single day," James Trent told CBS affiliate WVLT.  "That makes me think further he was obsessed with her.  He wanted her, and wanted her all to hisself."

Simpson has no criminal history, and TBI investigators said his motives for taking Carlie were unclear.  He is currently unemployed and has limited resources.

"We will not stop until we get answers for this family, this community, and others across the region who are holding out hope and wanting to find this girl and bring her home," said DeVine.

The U.S. Marshals increased the reward on Monday to $5,000 for the safe return of Carlie and information leading to Simpson's arrest.

On Saturday, Dr. Chris Calendine, Carlie’s pediatrician, announced he would be offering a $10,000 reward in addition to the $2,500 offered by the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

Dr. Calendine said the reward was for information leading to Carlie’s safe recovery. He had previously planned to use the money to save for a boat, but he wanted to see it used to further the effort to bring Carlie home.

Carlie is 4'8" tall, weighs 75lbs with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a black and gray tank top shirt with blue jeans.

The TBI released a home video of her, hoping it would help bring her home.

Simpson is 57 years old, 5'10" tall, weighing 157lbs. He is balding and has brown hair and eyes.

He was last seen wearing a brown cap, a dark colored shirt and jeans. He was last seen driving a white 2002 Dodge Conversion Van with TN registration 173GPS. The van has a dark stripe down the middle with light gold running boards and paint is chipping off of the hood.

Warrants have been issued for Simpson for kidnapping.

Officials asked anyone who may have seen the child, her uncle, to immediately call 911 in order to have the quickest response from law enforcement officials.

If you have any other information on the case, call 1-800-TBI-FIND.