Gary Simpson Makes First Court Appearance

Posted at 8:31 AM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 19:49:11-04

Gary Simpson, the man accused of abducting his niece, Carlie Trent, appeared before a judge Monday morning where he was appointed a public defender. 

Simpson has been charged with one count of especially aggravated kidnapping and one count of custodial interference in the case.

The search for Carlie began when TBI officials said Simpson removed her from school on May 4 under false pretenses. He previously had custody of Carlie, but her father was recently granted custody.

They disappeared for eight days -- making national headlines before her rescue on May 12.

The 58-year-old Simpson had shared custody of Carlie Trent and her sister until last year, while the girl's father was jailed on drug charges.

He told a judge in court Monday that he does not get why he is being charged for something that the girlfriend of his niece's father also has done.

"A lot of times people come into court and act confused as to why they're there." Margie Quin, assistant special agent in charge with the TBI said. "Very, very rarely do they come in and say, you're right, you got me, I did it." 

Quin joined Nick Beres on Morning Line on Monday to reveal more details about the search for Trent. 

Early in the investigation, the TBI found it alarming that Trent was taken by her uncle, because he had very little to gain.

The 58-year-old already lived in the same home as Trent, leading family of Simpson to say they believed he was up to no good.

"When you hear that from a family, obviously that's very, very concerning." Quin explained. "All of the things that we learned in the totality really led us to be extremely concerned." 

One of the most concerning facts of the case was the items Simpson bought for his niece, which included bikinis, swimsuits, lip stick, nail polish, and press-on nails. 

According to the TBI, the majority of abductions are done for sexual purposes. 

As of Monday afternoon, the TBI had not confirmed nor denied whether Carlie Trent was sexually assaulted by her uncle, and the TBI was still searching for answers of why Simpson took his niece in the first place, but Quin said as of now, members of the TBI who worked on the case are just happy Trent is home safe. 

"When I walked into the office at large and said we have her, I mean, there were tears." Quin recalled. "Literally tears from these intel analysts who have been working this case." 

On Monday, Simpson said he did not have money for an attorney. The judge declared him indigent and said he would be appointed a public defender. 

His bond was set at $1 million. He was ordered not to have any contact with Carlie or her immediate family.

A preliminary hearing was set for May 23.