Investigators: Missing 9-Year-Old Carlie Trent in 'Imminent Danger'
Carlie was allegedly abducted by her uncle-by-marriage, Gary Simpson
A spokesperson for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations said at a press conference that Carlie Trent, the missing 9-year-old girl allegedly abducted from school by her uncle last Wednesday, is in danger.
“We have specific and credible information that Carlie Trent is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death,” Josh DeVine of the TBI said Thursday morning, eight days after Carlie was last seen.
“We know the details and when you know the full picture and you know the extent of her danger, you better believe [it’s troubling],” DeVine added.
On May 4, Gary Simpson, Carlie’s uncle by marriage who, along with his wife, had once had custody of Carlie and her 7-year-old sister, picked her up from her Rogersville elementary school. Simpson and Carlie did not return home later that afternoon and the following day an Amber Alert was issued in Tennessee.
DeVine said Simpson and his wife, Laura, had previously had custody of Carlie and her 7-year-old sister for about a year when their father, James Trent, was incarcerated on drug related charges.
At the time of her disappearance, Carlie was living with James.
In response to speculation that Simpson may have been helping Carlie, DeVine said, “He had no intention to help this girl. Simpson is not helping Carlie and it is an insult frankly to the family and community to suggest otherwise.”
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
After the alleged kidnapping, Simpson brought Carlie to a local grocery store and bought non-perishable food items including bread, peanut butter and jelly, saltines and paper towels, DeVine said.
In a surveillance video from a Save-A-Lot, Carlie doesn’t appear to be distressed, officials said.
But DeVine stressed that Simpson’s intentions were not good: “This was no innocent camping trip,” he said.
Carlie’s mother, Shannon Trent, told PEOPLE that she always had a bad feeling about Gary. “I’ve always had a gut feeling,” she said. “I’ve always had a bad feeling about Gary [and] I should have stuck with my gut.”
Shannon told PEOPLE she has not had custody of Carlie or her 7-year-old sister for more than two years, saying, “I just recently got my life straight and I just wish I could at least see my girls again.”
Mary Evelyn Trent, Carlie’s grandmother, tells PEOPLE Carlie was “the sweetest little thing you could ever want for a daughter or a granddaughter.”
Simpson was last seen driving a white 2002 Dodge Conversion Van with Tennessee registration number 173GPS.
Carlie is described as 4’8″ tall, weighing about 75 lbs., with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a black and gray tank top with blue jeans. Simpson was last seen wearing a brown cap with a dark colored shirt and blue jeans.
Anyone with information regarding Carlie’s or Simpson’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND or the Rogersville Police Department at (423) 272-7555.