Mental Evaluation Ordered For Gary Simpson

Posted at 9:59 AM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 20:34:27-04

A judge has ordered a mental evaluation for 58-year-old Gary Simpson, who has been charged with kidnapping his niece, 9-year-old Carlie Trent.

The evaluation was requested by Simpson's court-appointed attorney. State psychologists and doctors were given six weeks to evaluate his competency to stand trial. 

At his first hearing, Simpson told the judge he did not understand why he was being charged with kidnapping. 

It was a high-profile abduction case that became well-known throughout the country after an AMBER Alert was issued in East and Middle Tennessee. 

Gary Simpson was arrested May 12 after eight days on the run Carlie. 

It was hoped that investigators would reveal more information about the case in a preliminary hearing, but due to the mental evaluation that did not happen. 

Simpson has been charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and custodial interference. Officials have said he could face additional charges. Those charges could be filed at the hearing.

The search for Carlie began when officials with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Simpson removed her from school on May 4 under false pretenses. He previously shared custody of Carlie and her sister, while their father was jailed on drug charges.

Carlie’s father had recently been granted custody.

At his first court appearance on May 16, Simpson told a judge that he did not understand why he was being charged for something that the girlfriend of his Carlie's father has also done.

Investigators said the confusion was likely a ruse to avoid the charges.

"A lot of times people come into court and act confused as to why they're there," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Margie Quin. "Very, very rarely do they come in and say, you're right, you got me, I did it."

Early in the investigation, the TBI found it alarming that Carlie was taken by her uncle, because he had very little to gain. The two already lived in the same home, leading family to say they believed Simpson 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.

Officials were still searching for answers of why Simpson took his niece in the first place.