The 9-year-old Tennessee girl, who was allegedly abducted by her uncle, was found safe on Thursday.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that Carlie Marie Trent was found safe after her uncle Gary Simpson was held at gunpoint by two men until law enforcement arrived. Simpson has been taken into custody, according to officials.
The girl was in school last Wednesday when Simpson, pretending that her father was involved in a car accident, pulled her from class, as reported by the New York Daily News. The parents of Carlie started worrying when she didn’t get off the school bus the same afternoon. Upon contacting the police, authorities in Eastern Tennessee began a search the same evening. However, the next day an amber alert was issued.
“Carlie is safe tonight because of an entire community pulling together with law enforcement to bring her home,” TBI Director Mark Gwyn said at a press conference. He added that although Carlie does not have any indications that she was harmed, she has been transported to a hospital for an examination.
James Trent, Carlie’s father, said on Tuesday that Simpson was obsessed with the little girl and that he “wanted her all to himself.” Speaking with WVLT-TV, James said Simpson – who had married James’ sister, Linda Simpson – had known the girl all her life. Simpson and his wife would often take care of Carlie.
“He had access to her every day, he was obsessed with her, he wanted her, and he wanted her all to himself,” James said. “That’s a scary thing to think about.”
As reported by FOX News, Simpson was arrested and charged with aggravated kidnapping.
“At the time, I’m very worried. I’m very concerned,” Linda said at the time. “I think she’s in a lot of danger. I don’t see why you would kidnap a kid if you weren’t up to something bad.”
The issue had become more series after authorities classified Carlie as being in “imminent danger.”
Gale Trent, Carlie’s uncle, said he never thought Simpson “would take off with the girl.”
“He was always a little different in his own way, but never did I see anything like a kid was in danger,” Gale said. “If I had I would have acted on it. I don’t know what he was thinking.”
In excess of 2,000 tips and sightings from 19 states were received by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Carlie was eventually found Thursday afternoon, just miles from her home.